Unfortunately the creativity of scam artists knows no bounds and the methods of which they try to harm their victims are becoming far more frightening and thus far more effective, according to the Park County Sheriff’s Office.

Working with both the Cody and Powell police departments, the Sheriff’s Office reminds all citizens of Park County, regardless of jurisdiction, to be vigilant. Regardless of medium – phone, email or mail – the goal is the same, to scam people out of money by using fear, manipulation and exploitation.

A recent letter received by a citizen of Park County was a trick designed to make the recipient believe that their home was in trouble due to delinquent taxes. In the letter, the sender demanded a large sum of money in order to rectify the situation and prevent actions such as “seizing Social Security benefits, garnishing wages and bank accounts, revoking benefits, suspending licenses, and a levy or offset to any tax refund gained this year.”

According to a Park County Sheriff’s Office news release, the message went on to demand action within 15 days. It appears to be from an authentic agency of some sort and uses legal language in an attempt to confuse and frighten the intended victim. There is definitely a sense of urgency in the letter for an immediate response. All of this is an indication that this is a scam.

Park County Sheriff Scott Steward said scams are becoming more sophisticated and residents need to remain vigilant.

“Thieves are always looking for new and innovative ways to take advantage of honest, hard-working people, and the first, best line of defense is to be informed,” Steward said.

If you receive correspondence in the mail, remember to always double check, slow down and keep calm prior to doing anything. Contact your local offices with known numbers to verify the legitimacy of the documents received.

The Park County Treasurer’s Office has information about the tax status of a local property, and the Park County Clerk’s Office knows of a local lien or levy. Even if the letter claims to be from the state or federal government, there are legal steps that must be carried out at the local level, making the local offices the first necessary stop in preventing this scam.

Both offices are aware of this con and are willing to help, according to the release. And never hesitate to reach out to local law enforcement for assistance.

Steward, along with Cody Police Chief Chuck Baker and Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt, remind everyone:

• Do not rush.

• Call a family member, friend or a known community resource to help.

• If they claim to be law enforcement, a local utility, or a business, hang up and call back on an established, known number .

• Gift cards or green dot cards are never an appropriate way to pay a fine or take care of a warrant.

• Do not deposit or cash checks that are unknown. Contact the financial institution that is listed on the check via an established or known number.

• Do not hesitate to ask for help.

Finally, remember to be protective of personal information such as birth date, social security number, bank account numbers and credit card information.

Local Resources:

Park County Sheriff’s Office (307) 527/754-8700

Cody Police Department (307) 527-8700

Powell Police Department (307) 754-2212

Park County Treasurer’s Office (307) 527-8630

Park County Clerk’s Office (307) 527-8600

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