Latest Scam Can Be Thwarted (Press Release)

by Public Information Officer, Friday, August 31, 2012, 02:00 (1930 days ago)

ABILENE, TX – Awareness is essential in preventing fraud victimization and sometimes leads to the detection of criminal activity in distant locations. The Abilene Police Department’s (APD) Fraud Unit continues to see cases of people being victimized through fraud. Though not an apparent uptick in reporting, the latest scam being reported to APD is a lottery scam. The scam uses the mail system or the internet to communicate a message of false winnings. Those suspected of fabricating this type of fraud include people and purported agencies that claim they are part of a lottery or sweepstakes. They make promises of cash winnings if the intended victim sends money in return for issuance of the cash award. Their hollow promises get the attention of many people.

APD believes that many of the intended targets are the elderly and the suspects use ploys that appeal to the victim’s values. Some of the suspects will purport themselves to be a doctor or someone affiliated with known corporations, including banks. Unfortunately by the time the victim or their family member contacts APD, the financial loss has already occurred.

Due to the nature of this specific crime and because it typically involves suspects on the move or in faraway places, it is highly unlikely the victim will ever recover their losses. That is why it is important to get the word out about potential scams anytime we hear about them and it is important to develop habits from awareness; habits that include all of us questioning these potential scams. APD believes that only a fraction of victim’s actually report their victimization because they feel duped and embarrassed. When in doubt, do the research and/or consult your local police department concerning any potential scam. The Better Business Bureau also continues to be an advocate for the community and can lend assistance. They can be reached locally at 691-1533.

If you have been victimized, report it to your local police department. Any and all information collected by local police can help identify trends and in turn, get the word out to our community. Though local prosecution is rarely expected in these circumstances, the collection of information on these scams can help federal authorities when appropriate. The important take away here is clear: if you did not play in the lottery, you cannot be a winner. Few things in life are free. As a general rule, if you have to pay a tax before receiving a prize, it is a SCAM. APD encourages you to be an informed citizen before making decisions related to lottery winnings.

Check out a related tip on this topic at FBI’s website: www.fbi.gov/news/podcasts/inside/lottery-scam-mass-marketing-fraud-ii.mp3/view. Another great website and the one to use to file a federal complaint: www.ftc.gov


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