Don’t be fooled by letters, calls that promise winnings

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By Becky Barnes

Hold your breath waiting for a new me.
When I opened my email this morning, I discovered that I can “melt away” belly fat with a fascinating new paint.
That’s what it said. However, after reading beyond the heading, I found it was a miraculous plant.
If I would click the link I could find out more.
Or, another email boasted being able to teach a language in just 10 days!
I have my doubts.
But I could always replace my windows, solar power my home, mortgage my home, hire a contractor recommended by Bob Vila, purchase a Dr. Oz break-through diet video or overcome fear. I could receive a special lasik surgery offer or rid my skin of unsightly skin tags.
Again, I have my doubts.
In this day and age, doubting is healthy.
Just last week, Det. Alan Judy of the Cynthiana Police Department released information about a scam that had attached itself to a well-known prize/marketing company -- Publisher’s Clearing House.
A Cynthiana resident received a check in via Fed Ex for $2.6 million.
Heck yeah!
Publisher’s Clearing house is a name that speaks legit, right?
It came in a Fed Ex package; that gives it credibility, right?
However, when the Cynthiana man made the required call back to the number in the letter and was asked personal and banking information, a red flag flew in the air and the call was disconnected.
Det. Judy confirmed for the man that the letter was a hoax and the man was able to hold on to the money in his accounts.
Not everyone is so fortunate.
Last year a Cynthiana woman was robbed in a home invasion when two men posing as agents for Social Security entered her home and grabbed her purse when she went to get her Social Security card.
Also last year about this time, Sheriff Bruce Hampton cautioned residents about an insurance scam that was being used locally to gain access to residences.
An “insurance agent” was asking for access to homes under the guise of taking measurements to update records.
The biggest caution, according to law enforcement, is that in each of these scams there has been no request for services or updates of records.
If you haven’t called for an update or if you haven’t entered a contest or lottery, how could you possibly be a winner?
The answer is simple, you can’t.
No matter how legitimate it sounds, check it out first. If the caller or representative says you can’t delay long enough to call the police or sheriff’s department, hang up or shut the door in their face.
Don’t give out any information. And don’t, under any circumstances, invite them into your home.
And, don’t cash any check that you have no knowledge about.
Recently a 17-year-old student received a real-enough looking check in the mail. She was going to cash the check, but before she did, her parent had it checked out by police.
Had she deposited the money in her account or cashed it, she would have been responsible for coming up with the funds to cover the check.
Just be cautious. Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. Their fraudulent schemes are getting tougher to detect and more widespread.
If you receive a questionable check or offer in the mail, take it to law enforcement. They’ll look into it and let you know if it is authentic.
The best policy is to give out no information, especially over the phone or online.