Bates County Law Enforcement is working with area business to bring awareness to a very popular scam in our region. This scam used to affect only the elderly group but businesses are now seeing it stretch across all ages.
The scam ranges from someone calling the elderly and stating they are the grand kids of that person and they are in trouble and need money. Another scam is the scammer calls and says the victim has won a car, or the lottery and the victim needs to pay a fee or tax to get the winnings. In extreme cases the scammer states that the victim owes taxes or has a warrant and has to send the scammer money to stay out of jail.
In each of the scams, one thing in common is the scammer requires the victim to go to Walmart, dollar general or any place that sells gift cards. The scammer will originally request a small amount like $25. Once that is successful the scammer continues to call back requesting more money with larger amounts.
Reports are that the scammer becomes very aggressive and threatens the victims with arrest or that the caller will send people to the victims house. The victims are typically told not to talk with anyone else and to go purchase these money cards immediately.
Reports are that area victims collectively may have been duped out of tens of thousands of dollars over the last couple years with these types of scams.
It’s tax season and these scammers are going to be amping up their tactics. We are highly encouraging you to talk with your at risk loved ones about giving personal information or sending money to anyone they don’t know. We are also encouraging you to use the adage that if it’s too good to be true it most likely is! In our experience no one has ever shown up at the victims residence to collect money or do them harm.
We have attached a photo of the most commonly used cards in the scams. Once money is put on these cards and the information is given to the scammer there is no way to get that money back. If you ever have a question please feel free to call your local law enforcement agency before you send any money.