Chris Jones: Greene Publishing, Inc.
Major David Harper of the Madison County Sheriff's Office reported that on Monday, Jan. 30, a concerned citizen reported an attempted phone scam. The scammer called from 1 (876) 355-5071 (a Kingston, Jamaica number) and claimed to be from Publisher's Clearing House. They told the citizen they had won the $1.5 million prize, but needed to pay the taxes ($1,500) via MoneyGram before they would receive the winnings. Major Harper wishes to use this incident as a reminder to all citizens on some ways to recognize potential scams. If any of the following “red flags” are present, citizens should assume they are dealing with a scam:
1. the call originated from another country
2. the call is from a blocked or private number
3. the caller is unable to answer direct questions about the prize or contest
4. the winner is asked to pay anything up front, including taxes or fees
5. the caller threatens to send law enforcement to the winner's house if they do not pay the taxes or fees
Major Harper encourages citizens to protect themselves and their identity by never giving away personal information, credit card information, or financial information over the phone. Major Harper says that if anyone receives suspicious calls to attempt to take a name of the caller and record the phone number, hang up, and call law enforcement.