Dunn County Sheriff's Department warns of telephone “phishing” scam

MENOMONIE, Wis. (RELEASE FROM DUNN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT)-- The Dunn County Sheriff’s Office would like to alert the public about an ongoing sophisticated telephone “phishing” scam operating out of Jamaica. A number of Dunn County residents have been victimized by this scam and other scams the amount lost by the victim varies from several hundred dollars to in excess of 75,000 dollars.

Scammers will call elderly victims claiming they have won a sweepstakes and that they need to pay a fee to collect their winnings. The callers may represent themselves as representatives of Publishers Clearing House or foreign lotteries. They will also pose as federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Customs, or the IRS. The scammers work to build victims’ trust and to learn information. They then use personal information to coerce them into sending large sums of money. Once victims send money as requested they are often asked to send increasingly larger sums of money until they have no more money to send.

The suspects will then provide an address often outside the state and instruct the victim to send large amounts of money to that address via cash or check. Once a scam has been completed it is nearly impossible for law enforcement to trace the transactions back to the guilty parties. The addresses provided to victims are often vacant or nonexistent and the identities of the parties generally found to be stolen or falsified. Phone numbers given most always list to locations out of country.

The Sheriff’s Office is advising people to use extreme caution if they are contacted by any suspicious parties. We want everyone to keep in mind that if it sounds too good to be true, it’s a scam of some sort. Family members are also urged to monitor elderly relative’s finances and educate them on these scams.

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