Canfield officer helps raise awareness about scams by sharing story

CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – A Canfield police officer knows what it feels like to be the victim of a scam. He was scammed in college and now, again, several years later.

Sergeant Josh Wells was scammed for the first time in college. Someone got access to his bank account and took $600.

“I had no clue it was happening. All of a sudden, it was gone and I’m $300 in the hole,” Wells said.

Then it happened a second time several years later.

Now Wells wants to get the word out. He took his story to social media, creating a series of posts highlighting different scams he sees on the job.

The most common types of scams involve a phone call, usually saying that you owe someone money or that you missed jury duty. The caller will ask for personal information. With enough information to get through online security questions, they could access your bank account.

“The thieves have gotten smart and the technology has assisted them in basically reproducing your credit cards,” Wells said.

He said if someone calls you and you think it’s a scam, hang up. It’s not worth trying to figure out if the caller is legitimate or not.

“There’s no harm in stopping what you are doing and thinking about it or asking someone for advice,” Wells said.

There are some signs to look out for to know if someone is trying to scam you:

  • If the way the caller wants you to pay is by a wire transfer or a gift card, hang up
  • If the caller seems pushy or won’t let you call them back, chances are it’s a scam
  • Watch out for callers telling you that you’ve won a prize or claiming to be part of a government agency

There are safeguards in place for things like taxes. The Ohio Department of Taxation uses an Identity Confirmation Quiz. It’s sent out to people whose returns have an anomaly in them.

Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa said the test has stopped more than $500 million in lost revenue over the last four years. He said the best thing you can do to prevent fraud is file your taxes as soon as you can.

“It’s going to cause a problem for you because when you file your return, you’re the legitimate person and our system is going to say, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve already given a refund to this person’ and will block it,” Testa said.

He said you will eventually get your money once you confirm your identity, but it will take longer than three weeks.