March 10, 2009

Contact: Lt. James Falvey, Detective Commander

The Milford Police Department would like to inform citizens of an ongoing scam calledAdvance Fee Scheme. In this type of scam there is communication made through telephone calls, letters or email that someone has won a lottery or sweepstakes and there is a request that the recipient has to pay some fee in advance in order to collect a greater substantial prize usually a cash prize. In one recent complaint a Milford citizen received a telephone call from the following telephone number (876) 678-6750 where the caller left a message giving a false name saying that the citizen had won some type of winnings from a lottery or sweepstakes and to call back for more information. The above telephone number was tracked to Jamaica. These scams are limited only to the imagination of the con artists who will ask for an advance fee to cover certain costs such as taxes or shipping costs to collect an even greater prize. They may ask you in different ways to pay fees in advance such as wiring money via Western Union or asking you for your credit card or banking information so that they can collect up front fees. They may also use middle men here in the United States to avoid suspicion to collect their fees making it look legitimate. These middle men collect the fees, take their cut and send the remaining amount to persons in foreign jurisdictions such as Jamaica. Police have learned that by calling back the telephone number in the area code of (867) which is in Jamaica people can be further victimized being charged an outrageous amount of money where International Rates Apply. One Milford citizen was the victim of this type of fraud a few months ago and there was another victim in New Hampshire recently was charged over $100.00 for his call back to a telephone number in the same area code of (876). We recommend that you do not call back these telephone numbers in the (876) area and never give out your financial information to anyone calling from these telephone numbers.

Con artists will continue to get creative in their attempts to lie, cheat and steal money from potential victims. They often target the elderly and do so from far away in foreign jurisdictions where there is little risk for them from arrest and prosecution. U.S Law Enforcement has no jurisdiction, therefore no authority in foreign countries. Knowledge and prevention is our best defense from these scam artists to avoid being victimized. Con artists spend considerable time practicing the art of persuasion to con people out of their money. Do not become a victim and make any quick decisions after talking with someone you have never known or you increase your chances of becoming a victim of fraud. Fully investigate and talk with other people to check the source and legitimacy of the caller.

If you have received some communication that appears too good to be true then it probably is. Never send cash or give out your credit card or bank account information to pay for fees in advance to receiving some type of winnings. If you suspect something is wrong then consult with a trusted family ember, your attorney, your bank or the police before you act.

If you have been a victim of sweepstakes or lottery fraud or know someone else who has been, reporting the scam to the proper authorities may help catch those responsible or help prevent more people being victimized. Some agencies you can contact include: The Internet Crime Complaint Center, United States Postal Service, Federal Trade commission and your Local Police.

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