USD 231 has received reports about people calling area residents and attempting to obtain their Social Security number. These calls appear to originate from a school district phone number.
“We’ve received a few calls of this nature,” said Ben Boothe, USD 231 public information officer. The district recently created a post to ensure district families know about this scam in order to avoid any potentially negative effects.
Other scam calls making the rounds include people claiming to be law enforcement agencies or IRS agents, according to Steve Benz, public information officer for the Gardner Police Department.
“What we hear about are the calls from people pretending to be law enforcement agents or IRS agents, claiming the call recipient either has an active warrant or an outstanding tax liability, and the only way for the recipient to avoid being arrested is to pay the fine/deficiency,” Benz said. “Then they are asked for either a credit card number, bank account number, or it is suggested that the recipient pay through the use of I-Tunes cards or similar gift card purchases.  The card numbers are provided to the caller via the phone.  The caller then accesses the accounts via the internet, from anywhere in the world.”
People should never give out their personal information, such as birthdates, social security numbers, or credit card information, via telephone, Benz said.  Criminals can “spoof” telephone numbers, making it look like the call is originating from a known business or organization.  Officials from the government, or from legitimate businesses or organizations, will not call citizens to collect fines or back taxes.  They will always contact citizens in person, or via mail.
Scam calls seem to be an ongoing issue, and Benz said although they have had a couple of complaints in recent weeks, there does not appear to be an increase.
According to USD 231’s social media page:
– USD 231 employees will never call and ask for a Social Security number.
– Your caller ID might show the school district’s (or one of our school’s) real phone number (913-856-2000), but that’s not USD 231 calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t trust what you see there.
– Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last four digits. And don’t give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
– Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. Always. No matter who they say they are.