Police were told of two separate incidents of senior citizens being targeted by a male calling on the phone and saying the residents had won the "Jamaican Lottery." The caller said that "winners" needed to wire him money via Western Union to collect their winnings.
The residents received multiple calls from the same individual.
The Community Service Office is warning residents that individuals perpetrating lottery scams often target the elderly - so if you have an elderly neighbor, family member or friend, let them know about such scams.
Police received both complaints of the harassment on Feb. 5, and both victims said the phone calls were coming from an 876 area code. Both were told they had won the Jamaican Lottery and needed to wire money to a "lawyer" through Western Union.
Police said both victims could tell the phone calls were scams, and did not provide any personal information to the caller.
Below are safety tips provide by the District E-5 Community Service Office.
- Residents should never give out personal information or send any amount of money to someone who has called you, no matter what they claim.
- We also remind residents that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Beware of callers asking for you to send them money, and if you are contacted by someone like this we recommend hanging up the phone.
- Also, if you see an area code you don’t recognize, ignore the call. Most fraudulent phone calls originate overseas and therefore they call from unfamiliar numbers.
- Always call 9-1-1 if a person calls your home and harasses you. Take note of the phone number the called from, any accents the caller may have, and if they are male or female. Bring this information to your local police station and file a report.
- If the calls do not stop and they become a nuisance we recommend calling your phone company to see if a block can be place on the number. Verizon offers a “Call Intercept” program for $7 per month where individuals can enter up to 25 numbers to be blocked from calling their homes. (These plans may vary depending on your phone company.)
If you do become a victim of fraud police recommend you call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name.
You should also call the Social Security fraud line, which will notify any company that checks your credit about your information being stolen. They then have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
Equifax: 800. 525.6285
Trans Union: 800.680.7289
Social Security Administration
Fraud Line: 800.269.0271