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Police: Scamming season is here again

March 3, 2011

Punxsutawney Borough Police Chief Tom Fedigan

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Scam season appears to be in full swing, as more victims in the Punxsutawney area have reported receiving letters asking them to send money.

Punxsutawney Borough Police Chief Tom Fedigan said his department has received reports of area residents who’ve been scammed through the mail and via telephone.

Fedigan said there’s such a large variety of scams occurring that it’s hard to identify any one in particular.
If someone receives a letter offering a chance to win money, that person should proceed with caution, he said.

“They’re very convincing. However, people need to take a close look at these offers,” Fedigan said. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Often, the envelopes do not bear return addresses, which Fedigan said is a good indication that the sender is up to no good.

A Punxsy resident recently fell victim to a phone scam within the past week, he said.

Most phone scammers are persistent, and continue to call and try to get money from a victim.

Fedigan said that once someone falls prey to a phone scam, the perpetrators will typically call the victim repeatedly.

“I believe in this one particular case, they had wired money to the perpetrators three separate times to the sum of $1,500,” he said. The victim had sent the money to someone believed to be representing the Costa Rican government in order to claim a lottery prize.

Fedigan warned the public not to allow the callers to talk them into wiring money, cashing checks or forwarding packages.

“These scams are constantly changing, and the public needs to stay informed on the latest approaches these scammers are using in their schemes,” he said.

A reminder for Internet users is to make sure one uses different passwords for different application.

If someone hacks into one’s Facebook, Twitter or other online application and obtains his or her password, a hacker could steal all of one’s personal information, including online bank accounts.

Anyone with questions about suspicious activity or possible scams should call Punxsutawney Borough Police at 938-6220.

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