I got my call on Monday, and I am finding that these scam calls are getting out of control again. I spotted this alert yesterday, and felt it's important to try and stay ahead of these scammers. The Williams County Sheriff's Department has issued a public alert regarding a recent scam targeting individuals in the area. Reports have surfaced of fraudulent calls from individuals claiming to be deputies from the Williams County Sheriff's Office. These callers are requesting personal information under various pretexts.

The scam involves callers posing as representatives of the Sheriff's Office and asking for personal details over the phone. They may cite reasons such as outstanding warrants, unpaid fines, or other official matters to convince individuals to provide sensitive information.

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It's crucial for residents to remain vigilant and cautious when receiving unsolicited calls, especially those requesting personal information. If you receive a call that raises suspicions about its legitimacy, do not disclose any personal information.

Online Safety Tips from the NDAG Office:

  1. Before you go online, make sure you are using a secure, password protected, wi-fi connection.
    • Unsecured Wi-Fi is completely unprotected. Anyone who has a device (cell phone, tablet, or smart TV) within broadcast range of an open Wi-Fi can use it. Hotels generally provide unsecured Wi-Fi access for guests.
    • Never check your bank account or credit card information or access the app for your bank or credit card from an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.
  2. Install antivirus software on any device that is able to access the internet. There are many free options available.
    • Keep the antivirus software up-to-date and do regular scans.
  3. Ignore any calls you get from someone pretending to be from an IT department, claiming they have detected a “problem” with your computer. This is a well-known scam. The scam artist wants to gain access to your computer so they can install malware. Once the malware is installed, your computer will act up – and then the scam artist “IT expert” will require payment to “fix” the problem created by the malware they just installed.
  4. Be aware of “look alike” websites. Scam artists often create look alike websites with an almost identical web address to a legitimate business or financial institution, in the hopes of tricking you into revealing your personal or financial information.
  5. Never click on a link in an email from someone you don’t recognize.
  6. Shop only on reputable websites. Before entering personal or payment information, make sure the website is secured.
    • Look for the “closed lock” symbol or that the website has “https:” This means the site is using encryption technology to better protect your information.
  7. Be careful what you download. Hackers now use so-called pirate websites to infect computers, cell phones and other devices. These websites, which provide users with access to pirated copies of movies, music, books, and other copyrighted content, are a major source of dangerous malware that is downloaded onto your device as you access the pirated material.
    • Hackers can use the malware to access your bank accounts or even to activate your device’s camera without your knowledge and record you and your surroundings. ​
  8. Monitor your child’s online activity on all devices, including gaming systems, tablets, smart TVs, and cell phones, to keep your child safe from online predators.

Are you a possible victim?

In response to this latest scam, the Williams County Sheriff's Department urges anyone who believes they have been targeted to report it immediately. Residents can reach out to the Sheriff's Department's non-emergency line at 701-577-7700 or contact the Williams County Dispatch Center at 701-713-3355. By contacting these numbers, individuals can verify the authenticity of the call and seek assistance from a genuine deputy if necessary.

By staying informed and alerting others in the community, we can collectively combat these fraudulent activities and protect ourselves from falling victim to scams. Remember, it's always better to verify the legitimacy of a call before sharing any personal information.

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