LAUREL -- Hearing that you've won money, a new car, even a vacation might sound great, but is it legitimate? Scams are becoming more and more common according to police.
"I get calls every week, and it seems to be something new every month, but generally it's all possibly a new variation on an old theme," Capt. Tommy Cox of the Laurel Police Department said.
In a recent trick, someone receives a letter in the mail stating they've won a sweepstakes and have to pay a processing fee in order to receive the check.
"If you win a lottery or if you win a sweepstakes, they're not going to ask you for money to send you money," Cox said.
This one asks you to send $23.95 to the Netherlands. They're not asking for a lot of money, but it could turn into something much more, Cox warned.
"If you fill out this form and send all your information in, not only have you sent your money away, but they have your personal information."
Another scam is called the "green dot credit card scam." Someone will call and say you've won money and a car, but you have to buy a green dot credit card and pay to have the car delivered.
"Well they'll want anywhere from $400 to $600, and they want you to go in, buy the prepaid credit card and give them the security code off the back," Cox explained. "Once they get that, they have access to drain the money off the card."
That particular scam is coming out of Jamaica, and others like it are emerging.
"I would suggest anytime you see an 876 area code pop up on your phone, which is Jamaica, I wouldn't even answer it, obviously unless you have a relative vacationing there," Cox said.
As soon the money reaches another country, there is nothing the police can do, Cox said.
"Once you send them the money, it's gone forever," Cox said. "You're not going to get it back."
He said the elderly are usually most vulnerable to scams because they are at home during the day and more likely to answer the phone, and they are usually more trusting of others.
Cox encourages anyone with questions about something they think might be a scam to call him at 601-425-4711.
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