Sheriff Warns Citizens to Beware of Scam Artists During Holidays
Sheriff Scott Franklin has issued a warning to citizens of LaSalle Parish to be aware of scam artists, especially during the holiday season.
Sheriff Franklin said that over the past few years, his office has received numerous reports of suspicious phone calls and mail (especially email) people have received.
He said that the calls or emails usually promise large financial gains if the person being contacted will only send the caller a small amount of money or give personal information.
The information requested usually involves asking for bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, and a variety of other information which can be used by the scam artists to create havoc on the personal financial security.
Franklin said that when citizens are contacted by phone or mail (email), “just don’t respond. Hang up the telephone or destroy the mail, or delete the email.”
He wishes to remind folks that they have no obligation to respond or even be polite to these criminals.
“If you ask questions, they always have pretty good, believable answers,” he noted. “Con artists often prey on good people who just can’t believe that someone would lie to them like that.”
The prizes offered usually involve a new car, a trip, a tax refund, a large sum of money left to the person by someone else, or some other reward.
Recently, a lady in Jena contacted the sheriff’s office about receiving an email from the IRS about a refund she was due that could not be delivered. They wanted her mailing address, then her bank account number and other personal information.
“The IRS does not contact anyone by email for any business, they do that strictly by the U.S. postal service,” he said. ‘And they don’t call people about refunds.”
Another favorite tactic of the scam artists is to tell someone, either by phone or email, that they will receive a great inheritance, or that someone in a foreign country has died and left millions unclaimed that is about to be sent to them. All the person needs to do is send money for shipping and handling. Sound familiar?
Just recently, a Jena man received an email from a man that stated he had been contacted as a “hit man” on the fellow’s life. He was willing to betray the party paying him to make the “hit” if the man contacted would just pay him $5,000. In return, he was to provide the man with the name of the person hiring him to make the “hit.”
And, of course, most of these emails warn the recipient to not tell anyone, especially the police, or the deal is off.
Sheriff Franklin reminds everyone, “we’ve all heard it, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall for a scam – especially during the holidays.”