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Phone scams reported in Ravalli County

Phone Scam
Posted at 11:40 AM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 13:40:59-04

HAMILTON – The Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office wants people to be aware of a pair of phone scams that are making the rounds in the Bitterroot Valley.

One of the schemes involves a man who was promised delivery of a new vehicle for less than $800. The caller offered to meet the resident and deliver the vehicle in the Hamilton area if the resident first provided $800. Sheriff Steve Holton says when the man refused, the caller reduced the price to $400.

“REMEMBER- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not valid! Residents should not continue the call and report the incident to local law enforcement if they have questions regarding the validity of these calls,” a news release states.

In the second scam, a caller claiming to be the intended victim's grandson reported being in a car accident in Florida. The caller provided a phone number, and the resident was instructed to call "Mark Stephens" at 407-707-9320.

When the resident called the number "Mark Stephens" identified himself as the County Clerk and instructed the resident that they would have to send money to secure the grandson's release from jail. The scammer provided another name of "Michael Roberts" with a phone number of 850-303-9064, claiming to be a Public Defender.

The Sheriff’s Office notes this is a common scam and is reminding people not to send money to any phone solicitor until the circumstances are confirmed through someone they trust.

“In the case of the "jail scams", residents should first contact their family members. Residents should verify all information they receive from unsolicited callers, and NEVER send money until they have either confirmed it to be true or contacted their local law enforcement agency,” the news release states.

Sheriff Holton notes that law enforcement agencies will never call and solicit money and that people should hang up on the caller and then call trusted friends or family members or report the incident to local law enforcement.