Scam calls see slow increase in Chelan County, continue to target elderly community | Local News | #scams | #elderlyscams
WENATCHEE — Wenatchee Valley residents may be noticing a few more unwanted calls than usual after a recent rise in local phone scams. These calls continue to be an issue for those who are targeted, including older adults.
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office documented a small increase in reported scam calls over the past four months. The office recorded 27 reports of calls between April and June 3 in comparison to 17 calls between Feb. and April 3.
Money given away over the phone is extremely hard to track and it is a favorite tactic by scammers, said Cpl. Lee Risdon with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office.
Best practices to avoid phone scammers include not picking up for unknown phone numbers and opting to let callers leave a message, he said. Legitimate companies are not going to call and ask for personal info to be wirelessly sent.
Scams are largely targeted toward older adults, he said. Risdon advised families to chat with elderly members of their family to warn them of potential scammers.
One Waterville resident had a worrisome run-in when she noticed her husband was falling victim over the phone to a scammer on June 2.
The resident, who asked not to be named, said she at first panicked. The couple quickly canceled their credit card and then reported the incident to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m in my late 70s and … if they hit my bank account I’m destroyed,” she said. The scammer left messages at their home in Waterville falsely claiming they were from Publishers Clearing House and were giving away money.
The resident said she wanted to let community members know about the scam because she did not want others to be tricked by similar scammers.
“I hate to have people hurt,” she said.
There are a variety of different types of phone scams residents have reported in the Valley. A scam caller earlier this spring falsely claimed they were with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office.
Risdon said law enforcement agencies will not be asking for one’s birth date because they will already have that sort of information. The same goes for banks — they should not be asking for bank account numbers.
Douglas County Undersheriff Tyler Caille agreed the biggest safety tip is to not release personal information to anyone unknown over the phone. Caille said the Sheriff’s Office has not seen a major rise in scam calls across Douglas County, but that it is still an ongoing issue for the area.
Residents can report scam calls to RiverCom Dispatch at (509) 663-9911.