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July 17, 2012 8:11 am

EDITORIAL: Avoiding scams

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Always be cautious, double check details

When reading the blotters from the Powell Police Department and Park County Sheriff’s Office, certain types of reports recur each month. Complaints of barking dogs. Callers who see teens acting suspiciously. And, time and time again, reports of scams.

Sometimes the caller suspects a phone call or message may be a scam. Other times, it’s too late and a resident has unfortunately fallen for a fraudulent scheme.

Police Chief Roy Eckerdt said the department has seen a pattern of email, telephone and door-to-door scams. In his “Chief’s Message” from last month, Eckerdt encourages residents to double check everything and watch for red flags, such as winning a drawing you never entered.

Older residents are especially vulnerable to fraudulent schemes.

A recent scam to hit Powell area residents is the “grandparent scam,” where someone calls an elderly person and poses as a relative needing immediate help. They try to convince the senior citizen to wire cash to help pay for some emergency, such as car repairs, travel assistance or a medical bill.

Older Wyoming residents also should be cautious of Medicaid scams. The Department of Health warned of the scam last week, where someone claims they are affiliated with Medicaid and asks for personal information. They also may try to convince the older resident to purchase something and say Medicaid will reimburse them.

Another health-care related scam circulating around Wyoming involves people who bought prescription drugs online. Scammers are telling consumers that those purchases are illegal and to transfer funds electronically to avoid arrest or property seizure, according to a federal Drug Enforcement Administration release issued last week. Several Wyoming residents have fallen for the scam.

Be watching for red flags whenever you receive a call, email, letter or door-to-door visit from anyone asking you for personal information or for money.

The Powell Police Department provides more in-depth information about various scams, fraud and identity theft, and how to protect yourself. Visit www.powellpolice.com and click on the “Crime Prevention.”

Unfortunately, scammers always will find new and creative ways to swindle people out of money. But with old tactics such as vigilance, caution and common sense, you can help combat their scams.

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