A large number of telephone, email and letter scam have recently been reported in the area. In one scam a target is contacted by a person claiming to be a law enforcement officer and is told a family member is in custody and needs assistance. They are told to purchase gift cards and relay the codes on the gift cards to the caller. In certain cases, the victims is told to refrain from contacting additional family members to avoid embarrassing the person in custody. Anyone receiving a call of this nature should be aware that police never use this procedure, and the call should be reported immediately to local law enforcement. In another scam, targets receive a letter or email claiming they have won a sweepstakes, generally in a foreign country. They are told to deposit funds into a bank account in order to cover the costs of collecting their winnings. That is not how lotteries and sweepstakes work. Scammers are also calling, claiming to represent a business familiar to the target, claiming the business is unable to provide a requested service or product. They then ask the target to provide account information to refund their purchase. This is not the procedure businesses use to refund purchases as they will already be aware of your account information. Additional steps to take to avoid scams of this nature are available below.
Local law enforcement reminds our citizens of the following:
- Do not provide personal finance or other information such as social security numbers by phone or email.
- Lock down your social media sites so that strangers cannot access information on your relatives, friends, and location.
- Any unsolicited phone calls, emails or mail requesting bank information to return funds is a SCAM.
- Notice of foreign lottery winnings with checks enclosed or with requests for funds to cover fees involved are SCAMS.
- If you believe you have been contacted with a scam, do not follow the instructions outlined by the caller, email or mail and contact local law enforcement. If it sounds suspicious, do not take any further action prior to contacting local law enforcement.