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Beware Of Holiday Grinches

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Angels Camp, CA — There are plenty of Scrooges just waiting to snatch your Christmas joy by making a gift of your bank account.

The Angels Camp Police Department has released this warning with some of the recent phone scams that have been reported:

You’ve Won a Prize!

The scam artist explains that the victim has won a significant prize (large sums of money, vacations, etc.) but a “processing fee” is required.  The scammer indicates that the prize will be finalized after the processing fee is paid.  This processing fee ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars.  The scammer will then request that the victim purchase a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer as a method of paying the processing fee.  When the unsuspecting victim make the payment, the scammer promises to deliver the prize, but the delivery never happens.  Legitimate lotteries and contests will never ask you to pay a fee to collect a prize.

You Owe Us Money!

Scammers have also called potential victims claiming to be representatives of law enforcement or other government agencies.  The victims are told they owe money to the agency and it must be paid promptly through a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.  If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver’s license.  Law enforcement and other government agencies will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor will they request that a payment be made using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.

Family Emergency Scam

Scammers will call and pretend to be a loved one that is hurt or in trouble.  They may claim to need money immediately to bail them out of jail, for a hospital bill, a gambling debt, or other situation where their safety or security is in jeopardy.  They will often ask you to keep the situation a secret from others.  Hang up and call the family member using a phone number that you know is valid to ensure the call was a scam.