Gloucester police urge caution after $50,000 scam | #scams | #scammers

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GLOUCESTER — After “a recent uptick in scams,” including one for $50,000, police Chief Edward Conley has urged the public to be careful.

Conley said word came from Manchester police that a Gloucester resident was bilked after they were “randomly contacted and informed they had won a fake lottery.”

In these scams, potential victims are “told they have won a lottery or sweepstakes and must pay an amount up front – either a service charge or taxes and fees — to receive the full larger prize and possibly a bonus,” he said.

“Everyone should be extremely careful when with their financial and personal information, and its imperative that if you’re making a payment that you know the warning signs to look for. You should always know the person you’re communicating with or making a payment to, and verify that information if you are unsure,” Conley said in a statement Wednesday.

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He said residents should never give out personal information, Social Security numbers, money, or credit card numbers to people they don’t know.

If you do give the scammer a pre-paid debit card number, send a money order or make a wire transfer, “the money is very likely gone. There is usually no way to recover those funds,” Conley said.

Lottery scams, especially emanating from other countries, are currently among of the most prevalent consumer frauds, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said legitimate lotteries never require payment to receive a prize. Taxes and fees are taken out before the prize is paid.

How to Spot a Scam

According to the FTC, the warning signs of scams include:

  • The offer is unsolicited and appears “too good to be true.”
  • Payments for goods or services are required in advance.
  • Personal information is requested.
  • Representatives use high-pressure sales techniques, claiming that immediate action is required.

How to Protect Yourself

The FTC suggests:

  • Don’t believe everything you are told. If something sounds “too good to be true,” it probably is.
  • Avoid being taken by high-pressure tactics. Take the time to research offers before deciding whether to participate.
  • Don’t do business with anyone who solicits money in advance of awarding a prize.
  • Inspect all representatives’ credentials carefully.
  • Don’t deposit checks sent by companies that claim the check is being sent to pay fees or taxes on lottery winnings.

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