Tall tales: The latest scams and how to protect yourself - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Tall tales: The latest scams and how to protect yourself

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They're smooth-talking, persistent, and they'll dupe you out of thousands of dollars.

These scammers have one goal and that's to steal your money.

"It's folks that are in other countries that are calling victims locally and trying to convince them that they have won the lottery winnings or some type of cash prize," says Maj. Kenneth Watson of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office. "They ask the victims to send them the taxes or some type of fee before the send them their winnings."

Bob Jenks of Chocowinity has been dealing with these types of scams for months. First, someone called him to say he had a computer virus and needed to pay $100 to fix it. Then, there was a call about a FedEx package that he owed taxes on.

The last straw was when he got an e-mail from what looked like his bank requesting his account information.

Deputies say all were scams and Jenks wasn't buying it.

"I'm mad," Jenks says. "And I better not find out who he is and where he is because he will not be the same when I finish."

A self-proclaimed "Gullible Gus," Kay Currie wasn't as skeptical when she got a call from someone offering to buy her timeshare.

"They gave me a good price but they said first, we have to have $1000 to clinch this deal. So I sent that to them," she says.

After she fell for a few more scams, she was soon out of thousands of dollars – forcing her to sell her two cars to make ends meet.

"I feel absolutely violated," she says. "I feel sick of the whole thing."

Maj. Watson says these scams take on many forms and usually originate outside the United States. He says the con-artists use Internet phone service providers to disguise their international numbers as local ones. He says that makes it difficult to track down and prosecute the swindlers.

So, it's really up to you to protect yourself. 

"Any time you receive an unsolicited request for money, your personal identification information, or account information, we encourage folks to be very suspicious of those requests," he says.

Maj. Watson suggests contacting law enforcement before completing any transaction. He says senior citizens should be especially cautious as these criminals target them because they're more likely to have savings or retirement funds.


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