Scam artists continue to prey on senior citizens

September 3, 2013 

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson is again warning residents about a recent spurt of telephone scams targeting the elderly.

In one case, a Mountain Area resident received more than 40 calls in a two-day period from the same telephone number: (876) 587-7904.

Area code 876 is the telephone area code for Jamaica

Anderson said the 876 area code has become notorious with lottery and sweepstake fraud calls announcing lottery winnings.

In the Mountain Area case, the victim was told that he had entered in a $2.5 million drawing, and opted to receive $2,500 worth of merchandise. In order to receive his winnings, the victim had to wire $1,000 to Joe Campbell at a Los Angeles address, to cover shipping, handling and taxes.

Anderson said no matter how convincing the person on the other end of the phone may sound, know that there is no prize.

"There was never any prize, because you never have to send any amount of money if you really won," Anderson said.

He also cautions residents about counterfeit checks that arrive accompanied by a "You just won" letter. The amount of the check is often more than the alleged prize, with instructions to cash the check and wire back the overage to cover shipping, handling and taxes. Anderson said that is also a scam.

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