Residents warned about phone scams

In times of increasing financial hardship and unemployment, someone is always trying to make a buck not always legally.

There are several ways for dishonest men and women to make a buck and in this era of technology, telephone scams are becoming more and more popular. In "small-town America" where the "it won't happen to me," mindset prevails, even Craig residents are suseptible.

"Unfortunately, there are many con-men and women who make a living off of unsuspecting citizens," Lt. John Forgay with the Craig Police Department said. "They are professionals, in the sense that they practice their trade of deception and double talk in bilking people out of money on a daily basis. These people are very successful in what they do."

And elderly people are common targets.

On Friday an 86-year-old man reported he gave more than $5,800 to a con-artist. The man was told he won $500,000 from American Family Publishers and that the president of the company would fly to Craig and present the check in person.

Over the next two days, the con-man called the victim and explained there were certain costs for winning such a large amount, including attorney fees and state and local fees.

"All that amounted to double talk," Forgay said.

The man was convinced to send two money transfers over a two-day period to a Western Union money drop in Chicago, Ill.

"The chances of identifying the person or persons who picked up the money transfers in Chicago are very small," Forgay said. "Those involved in scams are very mobile and cover their tracks very well."

Forgay warns residents about offers through the mail or over the telephone.

"If they appear too good to be true, they are," he said.

He also warned residents against giving personal information including bank account numbers, credit card numbers and social security numbers over the phone or by mail to anyone.

"If you have to pay money to receive (prizes), in all probability it is a con, scam or fraud aimed at taking your money," Forgay said.

Anyone who has doubts about an offer may call the Craig Police Department and check it out.

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