Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 29, 2012

Miami County woman falls prey to phone scam

State police warning others to be alert

Detectives working from the Indiana State Police Peru Post are warning people to watch out for a scam that recently cost a Miami County woman more than $2,000.

According to police, the scam started when the woman was called unsolicited and advised she had won a large sum of money and a new car. The caller said the victim was automatically entered into a drawing because she had previously used a debit or credit card. The caller indicated the woman had initially won the contest in November but the contest host was not able to contact her. Due to the victim not being contacted in November, the caller said the winning car had to be placed in storage. The caller said it would cost the victim $2,200 to get the car out of storage.

The victim was then advised to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card from an area retailer and put $2,200 on the card to pay the supposed storage fee. The victim then called the scammer with the card number, allowing the scammer access to the posted funds. The scammer told the victim that the car and cash would be delivered to her residence, which never happened, Sgt. Tony Slocum said.

The scammer also made repeated calls to the victim with different excuses as to why the alleged prizes were not delivered. The scammer also had someone call the victim pretending to be an Indiana State Police officer. The fake officer told the victim he had stopped the car she had supposedly won. Saying the car contained a large sum of money during the stop, he was calling to verify that the car and cash were not part of an illegal drug operation. All indications are there was no car, cash or contest.

Slocum said police officers do not call citizens asking for them to verify that they are not part of a criminal enterprise.

The Indiana State Police is investigating this case, but recovering funds from scams like this have proven difficult in the past, Slocum said. A large percentage of these scams originate outside of the United States.

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