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Barrow officials warn of scams

POSTED: August 6, 2014 12:00 p.m.


Scam artists continue to target Barrow County residents with lies about prizes and family members.

Barrow County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Jason Wilkerson is warning people to watch out for scam artists as they target people with promises, such as people being told they won a Publisher’s Clearing House cash prize. The scam is similar to many others where the caller says that the "winner" must pay a processing fee before the money is released.

Other scams include telling a loved one that their grandson is in jail and needs money to get out. If anything seems suspicious then it’s best to contact law enforcement before sending money.

"Just trust your gut," Wilkerson said. "If it doesn’t feel right, don’t go for it."

Green Dot cards—prepaid cards sold at various retailers—have become a popular way for thieves to receive the money. The caller will ask for the victim to give them the number through email, which makes the receiver harder to trace. Also, some scam artists call using a number from Google so that it’s more difficult to track them down, Wilkerson said.

"You can get a Google number and there’s no way to trace it without sending a subpoena to try and get the number," he said.

In 2013, a popular scam was someone proclaiming that the Barrow resident won money from Readers Digest. Often times that call originated from an area code in Jamaica, which makes it much harder to prosecute.

"They’ll say you won $200,000, but there’s a $2,000 processing fee," Wilkerson said.

While the majority of people called don’t send them money, the illegal "business" can be viable.

"If you call 100 people a day and you get one of them to give you $2,000 you could easily live off that money," Wilkerson said.

Sometimes the scam artists talk about being a Christian as a ploy to gain sympathy. The most common targets are the elderly because the scammer believes they can take more advantage of them.

"This day and age people are having a hard time and people call and tug on their heartstrings," Wilkerson said.




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