On January 28, 2016 the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office received a report of a scam. During the investigation, a deputy discovered that a senior citizen from the Franklin area had fallen victim to an apparent sweepstakes scam after receiving a series of official looking documents in the mail. During a phone call, reportedly from a cash and prize advisement company, the identity thief was able to obtain the victim’s social security number and bank account information. No money was stolen from the victim’s accounts. However, the identity thief was successful in transferring several thousands of dollars from one of the victim’s accounts to another one of his accounts in an attempt to fool him into thinking he had received prize money.
We are sharing this case information as an example of the great lengths scammers will go to. Senior citizens are often targeted because many have savings, pensions, and social security income, but anyone can fall victim to a scam. We encourage you to talk with your family and friends about their potential for becoming a victim.
Here are some safety tips:
- Be aware that scammers will attempt to manipulate your feelings. They prey on your emotions, particularly fear.
- Guard your personal information. Do not give out social security numbers, bank account numbers (which can be found on most checks), credit card numbers, and personal identification numbers (PIN’s).
- If someone claims you’ve won a contest that you never entered, then it’s most likely a scam.
- Don’t pay to play. If you have truly won a prize, then it will be free. If a contest is legitimate you will not have to pay for shipping or handling or provide credit card or banking information.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office also offers presentations with detailed information on how you can protect yourself and loved ones from these crimes. To schedule a presentation for your group, call 985-354-0714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office
Public Information Officer