June 21, 2012

Sheriff Warns Residents of Possible Scams

Scotland County Sheriff Wayne Winn recently released a pair of incident reports regarding possible scams involving local residents.

On June 11, the Sheriff's Office initiated an investigation of an internet transaction involving a Rutledge resident. The report indicated that the local resident had advertised a horse for sale using the popular Craig's List internet site.

The horse owner was contacted by a prospective buyer, claiming to be from Massachusetts. A sale was agreed upon, and the alleged buyer mailed payment from a Massachusetts bank, with the package being mailed from Memphis, TN.

The check received in the mail was for a higher amount that the agreed upon purchase price. The proposed buyer, then instructed the seller to keep an extra $70 for "their troubles" and to simply return a money order for the excess amount.

Sheriff Winn indicated that this is a common scam technique.

"Generally the victim cashes the check and then sends the remainder of the amount via Western Union, only to find out that the account the check was written on did not have sufficient funds or had been closed," Winn said. "The victim is then out the money they sent back."

The sheriff also reported recent complaints from citizens receiving mail announcing eligibility for a $12 million jackpot from the Sweepstakes Audit Bureau of Dallas TX. The mailing instructs the recipient to send $5 for a handling fee to register to win the sweepstakes.

After researching the company, Winn noted his office is treating this as a scam.

"Area residents are warned to be very cautious with any mailings or e-mails claiming that you have won large sums of money," Winn said. "You should be cautious and do your homework before sending money or cashing checks in these types of situations."

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