Sweetwater Sheriff’s Office warns of latest scams
by Detective Dick Blust, Jr., Public Information Officer, Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office
November 2, 2011
ROCK SPRINGS - The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office has issued an advisory concerning three scams presently circulating in the county.
The first is a variation of the "Advance Fee" scam and comes from a company calling itself "Claim Management" in Montreal, Canada.
Sheriff Rich Haskell said people are receiving notices in the mail from "Claim Management" stating that they are entitled to an "unclaimed settlement," in this instance, $100,000. Enclosed with the notice is an official-looking check for them made out for $2,269.83 or similar amount. The victim is advised in the letter not to cash the check until they contact the "home office," at which point they are solicited for around $2,000 in order to cover "processing fees" or taxes of some sort. The victim is then told he or she will be able to deposit the bogus check and, in addition, collect the hefty settlement.
If the scam is successful, the victim then sends the 2,000-odd dollars. There is no $100,000 settlement, the check received from "Claim Management" is bogus, and the victim is out the funds sent to "Claim Management."
Haskell said at least one Sweetwater County resident has been victimized.
The second swindle involves a newspaper advertisement purportedly seeking a "personal assistant" in Rock Springs. Victims who respond to the ad are informed via email they have been hired and soon receive in the mail a sizeable check, purportedly from a credit union outside Wyoming, made out to them. Along with the check are instructions to send $400 to an out-of-state location. The victims are further advised to keep the balance of the check. The entire affair, including the check, is bogus. The advertisement has been pulled and the Rock Springs Police Department is also investigating this swindle.
In the third, the victim receives a telephone call from a man who claims to work for a company, usually called "V-Corp," that is affiliated with Visa, who tells victims that they are now approved for a credit card they were previously denied, usually about a year ago. The victim is told their application has been re-reviewed and a credit card will now be issued as soon as an "activation fee" has been forwarded. The entire contact is a fraud, and Haskell said at least one county resident, a Rock Springs woman, is out a total of nearly $500.
People are reminded that the basic principles in avoiding scams continue to hold true:
-In the event that someone legitimately wins a lottery or is awarded a settlement, in no instance are any "advance fees" or taxes paid up front involved.
-Never send money or provide personal or financial information to anyone you do not know or whose identity you have not verified.
-Credit card companies do not ask customers to wire or cable "activation fees."
"And, as always," Haskell reminded, "when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always exercise caution and be especially suspicious when someone contacts you and solicits money or personal or financial information."