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Beware of an old scam that's starting again

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Guest column by Sheriff's Capt. Jim Burton

I have noticed an old scam that is starting again.
Recently some of our residents have fallen victim to a scam involving a supposed family member who is in trouble with the police or illegal gambling debts or some other issue. The victim receives a call from someone posing as a family member who needs money wired to get them out of a problem. The caller uses open ended questions or statements such as, “Hey grandma, this is your favorite grandson,” eliciting your response to call them byname. The victim, without verifying the story, rushes down to wire money to the “family member” in need, later to realize the person the victim thought they were helping is fine, safe and sound at home, after the victim calls to check on them, and they were never in any trouble.
Please, if you get a call like this, call the family of the alleged “family member” or call the person yourself on their number that you already have, not the number provided by the caller, and verify the need is legitimate.
This scam, as many similar scams to remove you from your money, relies upon your knee-jerk reaction instead of taking a few minutes to verify the story before losing several thousands of dollars. If you need any assistance concerning this scam or similar scams, please contact us at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Capt. Jim Burton can be reached at the Southwest District Office, 352-402-6060.