Sheriff Alert to Citizens – Beware of Scam Artists During Holidays
Sheriff Scott Franklin has issued an alert 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 people receiving suspicious phone calls, mail and especially e-mail. He said that the calls or e-mails 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 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.
The information requested usually involves bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, and a variety of other information which can be used by the scam artists to create havoc on personal financial security. Franklin said, “If you are contacted, just don’t respond. Hang up the telephone or destroy the mail, or delete the e-mail.” 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.”
Recently, a lady in Jena contacted the sheriff’s office about receiving an e-mail from the IRS about a refund 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 e-mail for any business, they do that strictly through the U.S. postal service,” he said. “They don’t call people about refunds.”
Another favorite tactic of the scam artists is to tell someone, either by phone or e-mail, 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 e-mail 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 he would just pay him $5,000. In return, he would 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.”