Caller Using Northumberland County Government Phone Number
1. On 19 December 2016, a woman living in south-eastern Pennsylvania received a telephone message from a man identifying himself as Alex Smith. The message indicated that Smith was looking for a person named Dawn (or Don) Lawson and asked the reporting person to call 708-247-5432 and ask for Mark Cowan.
2. The number shown on the reporting person’s caller ID was 570-988-4148. That number is assigned to the Office of the Prothonotary in Northumberland County.
3. The recipient of the call immediately suspected this may be scam attempt and decided to call and engage the suspect in conversation. The suspect terminated the call before specifying why he called in the first place. During a second call to Cowan by the reporting person, she received an answering machine message which indicated she reached a company called Greenfield & Associates. Only one business by this name (a law firm) was found in the state of Illinois but the area code and phone number assigned to the (real) law firm was different than the number called.
4. This is an apparent case of “Caller ID Spoofing” which allows an individual to place a call and put any number he/she chooses on the recipients caller ID. Spoofing a government phone number tends to lend credibility to the scam attempt.
Degg H. Stark
Chief County Detective
District Attorney’s Office
201 Market Street
Sunbury, Pa. 17801