Telephone scam advisory
by Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
February 25, 2014
(Rock Springs, Wyo. - February 24, 2014) The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert concerning two telephone scams circulating locally.
Sheriff Rich Haskell said one scam involves callers who tell their intended victims that they have won a grant of thousands of dollars from the Sheriff’s Office, but need to pay an up-front processing fee in order to collect. In the second, the caller claims to work for the Sheriff’s Office and is calling with the news that the Sweetwater County resident has won $500,000 from the Publisher’s Clearing House and Reader’s Digest. The catch is that a processing fee must be paid before the prize can be claimed.
"These are both variations of the ‘Advance Fee Scam,’" Haskell said. "The caller will claim to be an attorney, a law enforcement officer, or other government official in an effort to make themselves more believable. It’s a fraud; once you send your ‘advance fee,’ your money is gone forever. And the claim that the Sheriff’s Office is awarding grants is, of course, fraudulent."
While the phony "grant" calls show an area code of origin in southern California, the bogus "Publisher’s Clearing House / Reader’s Digest" calls originate in Jamaica.
Authorities say American victims have lost millions in money sent to Jamaica on such scams, where competition among gangs engaged in swindle operations often escalates into violence.
"Remember that no legitimate lottery or similar enterprise is going to ask for up-front fees or payments," Haskell said. If you get a call like this, just hang up."