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July 24, 2014

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Originally published: 2013-04-25 08:43:03
Last modified: 2013-04-25 08:43:02

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

By Capt. Aaron Miller

“You’ve won.”

Have you heard that on the telephone lately? If you have, then you are not alone.

Blowing Rock Police Department Lt. Angel Mahaffey reported that there has been an increase lately in the number of calls into her office reporting telephone scams.

The call usually starts out by the caller telling you that you have won some contest, a contest that you don’t remember registering for. The caller may tell you that you have won a TV, new car, vacation, cruise or some other too-good-to-be-true prize. By the end of the call, the caller will explain what you have to do to claim your prize.

To claim your prize, according to the caller, all you need to do is send a small amount of money to cover shipping and handling, or worse, provide private information such as your date of birth, Social Security number or bank account numbers.

Unfortunately, there will be no prize. Either your money or your identity is about to be stolen.
The other popular scam going around lately is the phone call, email or electronic message from a family member who has been the victim of a mugging or lost their wallet in another country and needs cash to get home. These scams can be very convincing and play on one’s desire to help a family member in a desperate situation. However, chances are your family member is not traveling abroad, and the only person that you will be helping is a thief.

These types of telephone and Internet scams have been on the rise lately, probably because they work so well. Stopping these thieves is virtually impossible because most of these criminal enterprises are being operated from foreign countries.

Local police can do little more than take a report for victims of these crimes. Please be vigilant, and remember if an offer sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

There were no traffic accidents and no arrests reported last week in Blowing Rock.

Three incidents were reported last week.

The reports included communicating threats, a civil property dispute and  damage to property.

For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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