Scams on the rise

Published 4:33 pm Monday, July 26, 2010

Sheriff Kenny Harden says citizens should be wary of telephone, mail and internet scams that promise large monetary rewards.

Harden said he’s received a number of reports of residents that have provided bank information or wired money only to find out that they had been scammed.

“One man lost over $3000,” Harden said. “Usually, it’s in such small amounts that it is a misdemeanor, and it can’t be investigated over state lines.”

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Harden said the savvy flimflammers fool people into wiring money to a Moneygram or Western Union location, which is virtually untraceable after they pick up the cash. The “businesses” they are claiming to represent do not actually exists and are registered to bogus addresses.

“If you get a check in the mail and it says you need to send money back, the best thing to do is to tear it up and throw it away,” Harden said. “The FBI has a form you can fill out after such a scam has happened, but the best thing to do is not give any information, either by phone or mail.”

One man, Harden said, was informed that he had won $100,000 that was to be delivered personally to his home by armored truck.

“First they asked for the money to insure the truck would get there safely,” Harden said. “Then they called back and said they needed $500 more to cover taxes and then $250 for a flat tire.”

Harden said the man paid the first few requests for money before he became suspicious. He never got his original money back, Harden said, and he never got his armored car full of money either.

“We just want to put the warning out,” Harden said. “If we can keep someone from losing their money, that’ll be fine.”