McCann, staff writer, Linton Daily Citizen
Incidents of fraud are on the
increase, and several area residents have been scammed.
"It's hitting, and hitting hard,
nationwide," said Lt. Det. Troy Jerrell of the Linton Police Department.
"It's astronomical, and it's going to get much worse before it gets better."
Jerrell said the big scam occurring
in the Linton area fools people into believing they've won a lottery in
another country, such as Costa Rica. A caller tells the victim they've won
and needs to pay a specified fee to take possession of the winnings. The
victim often receives a computer-generated letter notifying him of the
prize, and Jerrell said the letter has an ink seal versus a pressure seal.
Once the requested funds are sent, the victim never receives the promised
"People want to believe they've won
a lottery, but they haven't entered it," said LPD Chief Keith McDonald.
Another scam occurs when people have
items for sale in publications or on the Internet, McDonald and Jerrell
said. The buyer overpays to get the item shipped quickly and tells the
seller to just write a check for any extra and send it back with the item.
The purchaser's check turns out to be fraudulent, and the seller ends up
losing the item she had for sale and her money.
"They're pretty good manipulators
over the phone," McDonald said. "They try to get people excited about the
sale. They send too much money for it and ask for a refund. They send a
check that's no good, then they get money back from the seller."
Sometimes, Jerrell said, the funds
will be in the bank, so when the seller's bank checks, it appears to be OK.
But, he said, the scammers are working more than one person at a time, so by
the time the check gets to its destination, there's no money in the account.
"Sometimes the account owner is
another victim," Jerrell said.
He suggested waiting two to three
weeks to make sure a check clears before spending the money or sending the
purchased item to the buyer.
"If you're not doing business with
somebody you know, be cautious," McDonald said. "Be skeptical until the
He added that money orders also are
"They look pretty good," he said.
"They're usually in small amounts.
"The banks are aware. They're trying
to stay alert."
The chief said at least one local
bank has signs at the teller windows to make customers aware of the problem.
"If someone buys something from you,
or you win money, you shouldn't have to send money," Jerrell said,
emphasizing that the basis of the scams always involves the victim sending
"It still boils down to: If it
sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
(courtesy of Linton
Daily Citizen February 17, 2005 Edition)