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Phone scam targets senior citizens

By Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 15, 2015 at 2:12 PM

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Department is warning citizens to be aware of a new phone scam making an appearance in the area.

Sheriff Robert Bryan said this particular phone scam targets senior citizens in the community and the Sheriff’s Office has said they have gotten several reports of the scam contacting seniors in Wilson County.

In this scam, an unsolicited phone call states that the victim has won a large amount of money through the Publishers Clearing House. The caller will then give legitimate-sounding information to convince the victim they are with the Publishers Clearing House.

After convincing the victim, the caller then advises that a “fee” is necessary to deliver their first check, which can range from $500,000 to $1 million. The victim is then instructed to go to a local store and purchase a Pay Pal-type card on a provided number ranging in amount from $250 to $450.

Once the victim has paid the money, another call is then made a few days later to tell the victim they have also won a new Mercedes and that another fee is also needed to deliver the car.

Obviously, victims never receive either a check or a car.

Bryan said getting the money back from this scan is impossible because the money leaves the United States almost as soon as the callers receive it, and victims should not engage in conversation when they receive these calls.

Additionally, it is illegal in Tennessee to charge a “fee” for winning a contest, so this should be the first sign of a scam, Bryan said.

According to Bryan, the scam has been able to get money from at least two victims in Wilson County and additional reports of the scam are still being reported every day.

Anyone who thinks these people may have contacted them can call the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office at 615-444-1412.

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