GLOUCESTER — Chief Edward Conley and the Gloucester Police Department wish to share scam prevention information with the community following a recent uptick in scams.
Recently Gloucester Police were notified by the Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department that a Gloucester resident allegedly lost $50,000 due to a lottery scam, where they were randomly contacted and informed they had won a fake lottery. Potential victims of this type of scam are told they have won a lottery or sweepstakes and must pay an amount up front – either a service charge or taxes and fees — to receive the full larger prize and possibly a bonus.
“Everyone should be extremely careful when with their financial and personal information, and its imperative that if you’re making a payment that you know the warning signs to look for. You should always know the person you’re communicating with or making a payment to, and verify that information if you are unsure,” Chief Conley said. “We hope the following tips are helpful in preventing anyone else from falling victim from this type of scam.”
Lottery scams, especially emanating from other countries, are currently among of the most prevalent consumer frauds, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation reminds the public that legitimate lotteries never require payment to receive a prize. Taxes and fees are taken out before the prize is paid.
How to Spot a Scam
According to the FTC, the warning signs of scams include:
- The offer is unsolicited and appears “too good to be true.”
- Payments for goods or services are required in advance.
- Personal information is requested.
- Representatives use high-pressure sales techniques, claiming that immediate action is required.
How to Protect Yourself
The FTC offers the following tips:
- Don’t believe everything you are told. If something sounds “too good to be true,” it probably is.
- Avoid being taken by high-pressure tactics. Take the time to research offers before deciding whether to participate.
- Don’t do business with anyone who solicits money in advance of awarding a prize.
- Inspect all representatives’ credentials carefully.
- Don’t deposit checks sent by companies that claim the check is being sent to pay fees or taxes on lottery winnings.
Residents should NEVER give out personal information, Social Security numbers, money, or credit card numbers to people they don’t know.
If a victim gives the scammer a pre-paid debit card number, sends a money order or makes a wire transfer, the money is very likely gone. There is usually no way to recover those funds.
- Learn about 5 common scams and how to avoid them.
- Here are 10 most common phone scams to look out for.
If you are ever unsure about a potential scam, contact the Gloucester Police Department at 978-283-1212.