LIVINGSTON COUNTY — Sheriff John York would like to warn residents of Livingston County about the dangers of telephone solicitations and scams.
Often times telephone solicitations are received from groups identifying themselves as representatives of law enforcement unions or associations. Most commonly the calls are conducted by fundraising companies that are hired by groups that have no connection to the community or local law enforcement agencies.
According to a press release, some of the scams being reported in the Livingston County area are grandparent scams and sweepstakes and lottery scams.
A grandparent scam is where the scammer would call and pose as “the grandchild.” From there “the grandchild” would ask that their parents not be notified of the situation and that the grandparent wire thousands of dollars for reasons including posting bail, car repairs, lawyer’s fees, etc.
The sweepstakes and lottery scam begins with an email, mail, or phone call saying that a large sum of money has been won and needs to be claimed. The recipient of the message is usually told to keep this a secret and contact a claims agent. After the claims agent has been contacted the caller will be asked to pay processing fees or transfer charges in order for the winnings to be distributed. It is important to keep in mind that the scammers will use the names of legitimate lottery organizations.
Sheriff York suggests these tips to avoid being scammed:
Do not pay for any prize or send money to improve your chances of winning; it is illegal for someone to ask you to pay to enter a contest.
Do not allow any caller to intimidate you into buying something “right now”. If the caller says, “you have to make up your mind right now” or “we must have your money today”, those offers are probably scams.
Do not give any caller your bank account number; they can use it to withdraw money from your account at any time without your knowledge.
Do not give your credit card number or social security number to anyone over the telephone unless you initiated the call and know who you are speaking to.
Do not wire money or send money to anyone you don’t know.
“If you have concerns you are encouraged to contact you local police department, Sheriff’s Office or New York State Police at any hour of the day or night,” said Sheriff York.