Scammers on the rise in Ontario County

As the April 15 tax deadline nears, there is an uptick in activity dealing with your money — and law enforcement is not talking about the work certified public accountants are doing.

The Ontario County Sheriff’s Office has responded to numerous complaints of potential frauds or scams, which Sheriff Kevin Henderson said tend to increase during tax season.

Callers pose as an IRS representative and warn the would-be victim that money is owed and that if it’s not sent immediately, an arrest warrant will be issued.

One word describes it: “scam.”

“Never would you receive a call like that,” Henderson said.

Also of late, deputies have responded to fraud complaints where a caller, emailer or someone on social media offers a would-be victim the opportunity to collect a large sum of money as part of a contest or lottery.

Except that, the person is asked to buy gift or money cards and provide the numbers of those cards to the scammer. Usually, a relatively small amount of money is requested, which is by design, Henderson said. The scammer tries to collect small amounts of money from a lot of people.

“This is how they make their money,” Henderson said.

Occasionally, a bank account number is requested, Henderson said.

The simple solution? Do not provide money, gift cards or personal information, but instead call 911 to report the requests, Henderson said.

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