Recently, two phone scams were reported by the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office. And, once again, Sheriff Steve Holton said, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not valid!"

A deal you can't refuse?

He said the first scam was a phone call from an adult male who offered to deliver a new vehicle for less than $800 - only if the money was provided first. When the intended victim refused, the caller reduced the price to $400 - again if the money was paid first. At that point, the conversation stopped when the intended victim hung up.

The Jail Scam

The second scam was more involved, Holton reported. It was a variation on a widely used phone scam - the Jail Scam. An older person received a call from a person identifying himself as the intended victim's grandson, who had been involved in a Florida car accident and had ended up in jail.

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The caller provided a phone number to call and the name of a County Clerk in Florida. When the grandfather called, the man said that money would have to be sent to get the grandson out of jail. However, he also provided the phone number and name of a Public Defender, who would set up the transfer of the money.

This is as common as the Stranded Relative scam, where someone purports to be a nephew or niece or other relative and is in a foreign country, where their money has been stolen and they need financial help to get home.

In either case, Sheriff Holton said to never send money to a phone solicitor and if they claim to be a relative, check with other family members or local law enforcement to verify the identity. These scams are often targeted at older residents.

He also said that law enforcement will never ask for money over the phone. And these calls are often from outside the U.S., making recovery of your money very difficult. If you need more information, call the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office at 406 363-3033. They have a great App for your cellphone, too.

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