Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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June 10, 2014

Sheriff warns of phone scam

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes is warning residents to beware of telephone calls promising a large cash award or a vehicle prize that may be claimed only after sending money, usually in the form of a money transfer, to the caller.

This type of scam is a common telephone scam operating throughout the United States, the sheriff said in a statement released Friday.

This scam has recently been reported to the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office.

“Despite numerous warnings about this popular type of fraud, residents continue to be attracted to claiming the prize and easily fall victim to the scam,” Rhodes said in the statement.

“Seniors are often targeted with scams of this type.”

Residents are being cautioned to be suspicious of any calls requesting money to be sent to the caller.

This type of phone scam continues to be popular because of its success in convincing victims to send money to the caller in order to claim a large prize they are reported to have won.

Sheriff Rhodes wants residents to know these callers are very persuasive in telling the intended victim that they must send money to the caller to claim the prize.

The sheriff says the callers will familiarize themselves with the geographic area of the intended victim so that they may be more convincing. The scammers often will know landmarks, current events or popular businesses in the area of the intended victim and try to use this information to sound as though they are based locally.

If anyone receives a call they suspect to be a scam, call the sheriff’s office at 405-238-7591.

Residents may also contact the Oklahoma State Attorneys General Public Protection Unit at 405-521-2029 or the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357 for additional information on phone scams.

The sheriff’s office offers the following tips to prevent being victimized by this or other scams:

• Beware of Area Code 867. Calls originating from this area code are often associated with telephone scams.

• Never transfer or wire money to anyone that you are not familiar with.

• Don’t be intimidated to send money to anyone you don’t know. Callers will often use threats and repeated telephone calls until the money is sent. Simply hang up on the caller or ignore the telephone calls.

• If you get a call that you have won a prize, never pay any money to collect the winnings. Legitimate sweepstakes will not require you to pay in advance to collect your winnings.

• Never provide anyone over the telephone with your personal information. This information includes your financial accounts, birth date, social security information, address, pin numbers or family.

“There’s no such thing as easy money,” Rhodes said, adding the lure of any “easy money” should be a large red flag.

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