Sheriff issues scam warning

NEW CUMBERLAND – The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department is issuing a warning about an apparent scam making its way through the area.

According to information released Wednesday, the sheriff’s office has received multiple calls from Hancock County residents saying they have been contacted by individuals claiming to be from Microsoft requesting access to home computers.

Sheriff Ralph Fletcher said a resident from Weirton received a call from what appeared to be a local number listed under the name “Danny McNelty.” Because the resident did not recognize the number, Fletcher said multiple calls went unanswered.

“The resident finally answered the phone to be greeted by a man with a foreign accent claiming to be from Microsoft,” Fletcher said. “The resident questioned this because of the local number, upsetting the caller who then hung up.”

Fletcher said a female resident received a similar call requesting information about her home computer, became suspicious and hung up on the caller. He said he wants residents to be wary of callers requesting personal, financial and computer information.

“It is possible for anyone to spoof a number to make it seem like it is from the local area. There are even phone applications that allow people to call under different numbers,” said Detective Chris Waide, adding the Hancock County Detective Division has received complaints of this nature for quite some time.

Detective Matt Harvey said some individuals have even paid for services offered only to find out too late it was a scam. He said it seems very legitimate at the time and the scammers even produce a program on the computer and then coaxing people into additional, smaller purchases for services.

Residents receiving calls of this nature are encouraged to report them to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office at (304) 564-4100 or through Tip411.