BLACK RIVER FALLS (WEAU)--The Jackson County Sheriff's Department says it's seeing an uptick in reports of money scams. The scammers are targeting elderly people and businesses through phone, mail and email.
Sergeant Pat LaBarbera says the scammer's are getting bolder and more aggressive. The most recent scam being investigated, involved a caller from Jamaica swindling an elderly man out $20,000. LaBarbera says the scammer even went as far as to pose as a sheriff's captain.
"If it seems too good to be true it probably is,” said LaBarbera.
LaBarbera says the Department gets a number of reports regarding suspicious phone calls and mailings from people across the county.
“Usually in these scams, they pique people’s initial interest by telling them they won a large sum of money. So some of the citizens have forwarded money to these people in hopes of a big payout, which never actually occurs,” said LaBarbera.
He says another way scammers work is to ask for personal information, like banking information or credit card numbers.
“All things that should never ever be told to anyone over the phone,” said LaBarbera.
Delmar Dahl says he's seen firsthand how persuasive these scammers can be.
“The telephone rang and I thought it was probably another ‘crack’ caller and I as it turns out I think it was. He said he had a special message that I’d been selected to win a prize,” said Dahl.
He recognized the call as a scam and hung up. But he says he understands why people get caught up in the excitement.
“People are so anxious to get something out of nothing, you don't get something for nothing, I never have,” said Dahl.
“The reason we are seeing more is because it’s easy money. These individuals that are perpetrating these scams are very successful and the recovery rates and prosecution rates for these people are very low because a lot of it occurs out of the United States.,” said Labarbera.
If you have any suspicion about a call or piece of mail you've received, LaBarbera says call your local law enforcement agency. He says they will be able to help you decide whether it was a legitimate call.