Phone scam targeting library patrons

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Briggs Library does not solicit donations

The Briggs Library is warning people about a possible phone scam in which someone gets a call claiming that the library is seeking donations. The phone number on the caller ID says that it is the Briggs Library lending credence that the caller is from the library.

They are not.

Joe Jenkins, the executive director of Briggs Library, says they do not solicit donations at all.

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“I want our patrons to know that we do not do that,” he said. “We never do that, we do not call and ask people to donate money under any circumstances. That is just not what we do, we do not solicit donations in any way.”

He said, most of the times, when they get a donation, it is something along the lines of someone paying a 50 cent fine with a $5 dollar bill and telling them to keep the change as a donation.

He said there is the Briggs Trust, which established in the late 1800s to build a library and it continues to support the library through donations.

The scam doesn’t seem to be widespread as of yet.

“As far as I know, we’ve had one patron from Ironton call the library and stated that they had received a phone call. When she looked a the caller ID it said ‘Briggs Library,” Jenkins said.

The patron thought is was unusual since she goes to the library frequently and hadn’t seen any signs about the library doing any fundraising. So she called the library to ask about it and was told the library doesn’t solicit donations. She was told to report it to the Ironton Police.

Jenkins said that it is possible to go online and set up a system that “spoofs” numbers and make it look like the phone number is from a legitimate source.

“What they are trying to do is get your credit card number and that is something we don’t want to happen to any of our local residents,” Jenkins said. “They should always call us if someone is claiming that they are calling on behalf of the library. And they should notify the police if they feel that is appropriate.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s website offers helpful tips about dealing with a potential phone scam, which can range from falsely soliciting donations, to saying they are with the IRS or utility company, or the “grandparent scam” which is when a con artist calls a grandparent and claims to be a grandchild who is away from home and in need of immediate financial  help.

The attorney general recommends that you do not send money via wire transfer or prepaid card in response to an unexpected phone call. These are preferred payment methods of scammers because they are difficult to trace or recover once payment is provided.

If you suspect a scam, report it to local law agencies or contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.