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News Weatherford and Parker County

Sheriff’s office warns of money transfer scam

From the Parker County Sheriff’s Office:

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler is warning the public of another shady scam by con artists.

A Money Gram employee contacted the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, Tuesday evening, notifying deputies of a suspicious transaction in progress which he suspected was fraudulent.

The employee reported a 78-year-old Parker County female had wire-transferred a $1,700 money order to a store in New Jersey. The employee also said the account has been under investigation by local authorities for potential scams, conning elderly adults into wiring money to the suspects. The employee also stated the Money Gram fraud investigation unit was able to “ping” the wire transfer to IP addresses in Jamaica and Brooklyn, New York utilizing companies such as Money Gram.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said deputies responded to the woman’s residence, discovering she had been on the phone with a scammer posing as a representative from “Publisher’s Clearinghouse,” for the better portion of the day.

The woman arrived home as deputies were speaking to her husband, who also thought it was a scam but could not convince his wife otherwise. As the victim arrived, she was still on her cell phone with the scammer.

Deputies addressed the con artist and instructed him not to contact the victim further, and the call was ended.

The victim then reported she was contacted earlier in the day, with the news that she had won the “Publisher’s Clearinghouse Grand Prize.”

The impersonator instructed her to withdraw $4,300 in cash from her bank and wire it to two different Wal Mart stores in New Jersey and another in Illinois.

Sheriff Fowler said he commends the Money Gram employee for taking fast action by placing a hold on the transfer in order to spare the victim from further financial loss and contacting our office as soon as he was alerted to the $1,700 transfer to New Jersey.

“It is disheartening to know anyone would take advantage of another individual to this scale,” Sheriff Fowler said. “What seems to be surprising is that the impersonator was able to convince a rather intelligent, kind woman that in order to claim her prize, she had to pay in advance ‘to handle taxes and winning fees.’ We strongly advise anyone who receives any similar calls, to immediately verify the information and contact your local law enforcement agency to report the incident prior to sending any type of payment.”

The Money Gram employee was able to stop the transaction he had held, and recovered a second payment which was pending. Unfortunately, the first payment was completed prior to notifying our agency.

The responding deputy stayed with the victim and her husband to relay the Federal Trade Commission’s contact information and instruct her on how to generate a report and claim the $900 she lost during the ordeal. The case is currently under investigation.

Sheriff’s investigators said several varying scam reports have been received over the past few months.

“Education is the key,” said Criminal Investigations Division Captain Mark Arnett said. “It is our hope to make our community aware of the cons and scams out there preying on our parents and elderly.”

Arnett added the victim in this case was embarrassed and did not wish to report the incident or be identified.

“We believe there may be more victims in her situation,” Arnett said. “We encourage everyone who suspects suspicious activity to report it to keep from being further victimized and discourage other potential victims from falling into a scam trap.”

For further information, log ontohttp://scamawareness.org. ScamAwareness.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Americans about scams. The site offers articles featuring how to learn more about the most common scams such as IRS scams, Internet dating site/love scams, home loans/mortgage scams, phone and e-mail scams, jail scams and contest winner scams. It also offers how to gain knowledge of learning what to say to avoid being a victim to scams.

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