ON YOUR SIDE ALERT: Baxter County, Ark. sheriff warns of fraudulent door-to-door activity

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (Edited News Release) -- The Baxter County, Ark. Sheriff's Office is warning of door-to-door fraudulent activity reports.

Sheriff John Montgomery says two separate incidents have been reported within the past week. The reports claim someone is going door-to-door in the Mountain Home area pretending to be a representative from the government or a contractor for a government agency, such as a state agency. The representative is trying to obtain personal identifying information from residents. One complaint involved someone pretending to be conducting a survey concerning alcohol and tobacco use and asking the homeowner for a social security number and other personal identifying information. There is no legitimate reason why any information of that kind would be asked for or needed by legitimate survey takers.

The sheriff strongly encourages you not provide and not to verify any personal identifying information to unknown and unconfirmed sources, either in person, by phone, by email, through social media, or by other means of communication. This includes social security numbers, dates of birth, physical or mailing addresses, telephone numbers, license numbers, names of family members, or anything else that could be used to verify a person's identity. Giving out this information can result in identify theft and fraudulent financial activities undertaken in someone's name without his or her knowledge, which can be very costly and difficult to try to reverse.

If someone has any doubt at all about the authenticity of a person going door-to-door soliciting information, tell them nothing, get a careful look at the person's description, clothing, and vehicle involved if any, and report it immediately to your local law enforcement agency. Sheriff Montgomery says his deputies will try to locate them, identify them, and find out exactly what they are doing.