aware of phone scams
Editorís note: The following was submitted to the Chronicle by Cottonwood Police Chief Terry Cochran. This article previously appeared in another news outlet.
Residents on the Camas Prairie have been receiving scam phone calls by callers with foreign accents who claim they are with Publishers Clearing House and that they have won a large amount of cash. But the catch is, in order to claim the prize, they must first pay a delivery fee or taxes in order to get it.
Cottonwood Police Chief Terry Cochran says this is "100% a scam" and it has even hit this area. He says the callers use high-pressure tactics and "play on the feelings and emotions" of the person who answers the phone; the elderly are most often the targets.
"Traditionally what they want is for you to wire them money and threaten that they will stop by your house," Cochran says, adding that this is only a scare tactic. The caller demands that the person send or wire money, or send a pre-paid gift card or something called a Green Dot Moneypak card in order to claim a sweepstakes prize.
Cochran says it is against state and federal law for anyone to require money up-front if you have won something. The phone number of one such call in the Cottonwood area was traced to a call center in California.
Cochran says the best thing to do if one of these scammers calls is to just hang up. And never give them money, he says, because the chances of prosecuting a case are very slim unless it is a huge amount.
"Publishers Clearing House does not operate this way and would NEVER ask for money to claim a prize award. PCH employees would never contact you personally or in advance to notify you of a prize award," according to the Publishers Clearing House website.
As a followup on this, Cochran got a call from a lady in North Carolina (she said she read the online thing), stating a "Mr. Fernandez" is calling them with the same scam, Publishers Clearing house, etc.