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Scammers' new tactic: threatening to call police

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — Scammers are getting even more aggressive, invoking law enforcement if an intended victim doesn’t pay out money to get a valuable prize, according to Carroll Sheriff’s Investigator Kevin Kemp.
“The problem is they’re getting more involved with their threats,” the investigator explained. “They’re trying to say that the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office will come and arrest you if you don’t pay your bill.”
Scammers seem to have picked up their pace in making phone calls and sending out letters and e-mails trying to trick innocent people into believing they’ve won some kind of lottery or contest, Kemp said. That’s what the five complaints he’s heard from the public in the last few days leads him to believe.
The scammers are using more threatening language to push people to turn over their money.
“We’re not coming to arrest them — that’s just not true,” Kemp said.
One person got a letter saying that the contest originated from overseas, but warned the "winner" not to tell anyone or other people would try to steal the money, Kemp said.
Some scammers have turned to “green dot money cards,” prepaid credit cards.
If any offer says that you have to spend money to receive earnings, then it’s fraud and a scam, the investigator said.
A potential scam victim who contacted The Gazette said she was told to send $20 to a company called Financial Acquisition Agency of Miami, Fla., in order to receive a substantial cash prize.
She didn’t fall for it. Instead, she called the police and the newspaper.
Never send money, Kemp advised. “People are getting ripped off and losing their money for no good reason.”
The Independence Police Department recently warned of text messages going to cell phones, claiming that people had won money from Walmart.
"Anyone getting these, please contact your local law enforcement agencies with the information," a police press release said.