by Emily Waldrep
Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford wants to warn citizens of several phone and Internet scams circulating in the area recently. According to Weatherford almost all of the scams require people to send money outside of the country where law enforcement has little to no recourse to capture these types of criminals.
Nigeria, one of the main countries from where these scams originate, is not interested in stopping these types of crimes, so it is up to citizens to remain aware and diligent to prevent falling victim to a scam.
"One current scam is a Facebook lottery scam," Weatherford said. "People will hack into Facebook accounts and send them a message through Facebook that appears to come from a good friend and they say they want to let you know about a prize they won, and will say that they can win too. Then, the hacker will get you to send some amount of money to 'claim' your prize."
Chief Deputy Phil Ryan says that if someone asks you to send money to receive a prize, it is probably a scam.
"Scammers will also call the elderly pretending to be a bonds company saying a relative is locked up," Ryan said. "They usually will not be very forthcoming with information and will ask for an amount of money to get them out of jail."
Weatherford and Ryan want citizens to know that if someone calls and wants money to get a relative out of jail, make sure to do your research before sending any amount of money because it is probably a scam.
A third type of scam is something Ryan calls a 'Pay day Loan' scam.
"Scammers will call and say that you have defaulted on a payday loan and will threaten felony charges if you do not pay it immediately," Ryan said. "That is a scam too."
Ryan says if you have any questions about scams or if you think you may be being scammed, you should call the police.
"Sadly, if you have fallen victim to a scam there is almost nothing we can do," Ryan said.
Weatherford warns citizens that the elderly are often victim to these types of crimes, and if there is any question about whether something is a scam, call the police or the Sheriff's Department.