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Unadilla Township
Wednesday November 10th, 2010 :: 12:31 p.m. EST


Beware of phone scam. Caller notifies homeowner of prize and tells them to send money to pay for taxes to collect.


Police recently took several complaints of a common phone scam in which the homeowner is notified that they won a large sum of money. There are a number of variations to this criminal scheme. Typically, the caller advises the recipient that they must first pay the taxes on their prize and the award will be promptly sent to them. In some cases, after the initial notification, an official prize letter is mailed to the resident using fictitious address and name information on official looking letterhead. Sometimes, an actual check is mailed as well using authentic business check stock printed on a personal computer with false routing and account numbers. Often, the calls originate from outside the United States. One recent call originated from Jamaica.

Of particular concern is that elderly persons are often targeted for this type of scam. Earlier this year, the Unadilla Police Department was notified by a family member that her elderly father had been the subject of such a scam. Police believe the suspect(s) learned of the man’s spouse’s death through an online obituary. They then contacted him using his published phone number. After a series of calls in which they developed a rapport with the man playing on his depression, his loneliness and his diminished mental ability; the criminals were able to talk the man in to sending them over thirty payments (using the Pinckney Rite Aid Western Union) over a four month period in which the victim was scammed out of $30,000.

Residents are urged to keep a careful watch on their elderly neighbors and loved ones in order to protect them from these types of criminal activities. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact your local police.

Unadilla Township
126 Webb Rd
Gregory, MI 48137

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 734-498-2325

William Cook

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