May 19, 2013

Murray sheriff’s office warns against scam

Submitted by the Murray County Sheriff’s Office

— The Murray County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint this week from a local resident regarding a possible scam apparently based on the Publishers Clearing House (PCH) contest.

The complainant told detectives the person received a phone call at the person’s residence from an individual supposedly representing PCH stating that the Murray County resident had won $350,000 and a new Mercedes car.

The caller told the resident in order to complete the transaction for winning they must first wire a predetermined amount of money via Western Union to an account. The resident took the phone number of the caller and other information and called the sheriff’s office to report the scam.

Sheriff’s investigators followed up on the information and found that the call had originated from Jamaica and that it was indeed a scam. Further investigation revealed that multiple residents in Murray County have recently received phone calls from bogus individuals asking for anything from money transfers to name and date of birth information from the person answering the phone.

The sheriff’s office learned this week, after the Varnell Police Department contacted officials to share information, that Varnell residents in Whitfield County have been inundated with bogus calls as well this year. Varnell Police Department Lt. Scott Casey stated that some residents in Varnell were actually scammed out of a significant amount of funds, and Varnell Police too have been investigating these calls to try and put an end to the scams.

The information shared by the Varnell Police Department investigators prove that the scam and bogus phone calls of late are not just Murray County specific and anyone at any time is subject to being contacted on land lines or cellphones.

Sheriff’s officials believe that there are victims in Murray County that have given money to these scams with no return on investment. These phone scams are against multiple state and federal laws including, but not limited to, theft if money is transferred. If you are a victim of theft from these scams and can provide documentation (bank statements, wire transfer receipts, etc.) then we encourage you to call the Murray sheriff’s office and have an officer take a report.

These investigations take time and usually span multiple jurisdictions, but we will put all available resources into finding those responsible and holding them accountable for their actions. You can also report the phone call violations (repeated calls, etc.) to Federal Communications Commission investigators by calling (888) CALL-FCC.

Please don’t give money or other personal information out over the phone, and remember that if the caller or promotion sounds too good to be true then it probably is a scam so don’t become a victim.