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Scam calls continue to be a problem in Gallatin, Broadwater Counties

An FBI report released earlier this year showed that 14,190 people reported being victims of government impersonation scams in 2023, with losses totaling more than $394 million.

The impersonation scams are nothing new to the Three Forks area.

Last week, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office once again reported an increase in calls " where the caller says they are from the Sheriff's Office, may even use a deputy's name, informs the victim that they owe the GCSO money for some reason, such as a warrant, unpaid ticket, not showing up for court, and the latest one, not showing up for jury duty."

The caller will then tell the potential victim to get gift cards and or money to send to avoid arrest.

"Please know that while we may contact you to serve you various documents, we will never request payments. Any payments related to law enforcement or the jail are processed through the courts, never our office," states the release. "These calls can look and feel very convincing. It is easy to clone the GCSO phone numbers, and deputy names are publicly available, so the call may look and sound like it comes from the Sheriff's Office."

The GSCO is asking those who receive a call like this to immediately hang up and to call 406-582-2100 with any questions or concerns.

Broadwater County Sheriff Nick Rauser has also recently dealt with someone impersonating his office.

Rauser said scam callers were recently calling and cloning a Broadwater County Sheriff's Office Employee.

"I ended up calling the number and speaking with the guy. Once I said who I was, he hung up and disconnected his number," Rauser said.

According to Rauser, his office always deals with scam calls.

"They are constantly changing the way they do things, making it hard to keep up and inform the public," Rauser said.

MONTANA CSI

The Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance's Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) is also fighting the battle against scammers.

In a 2023 interview with the Voice, Commissioner Troy Downing said scams have been a huge issue and something they have really taken on in the agency. He added that the lion's share of the financial fraud they investigate and prosecute in Montana is perpetrated on senior citizens.

Downing said that Montana has one of the older populations and a concentration of wealth unequally distributed towards the senior population, so they are targets for many scammers.

"A lot of our elderly population tend to be more trusting, so it creates this environment where there are bad actors that try to separate seniors in Montana from their money," he said.

FAST team member Mark Mattioli shared with the Voice one of the main messages they hope to get across to Treasure State residents about scams.

"If you are contacted unsolicited by email, text, phone, or instant message, and they want you to pay money, and they want you to do it by crypto, don't do it, or at the very least contact our office, and we can help walk you through it and help protect you," he said.

 
 
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