On Tuesday May 14th, 2013 the Murray County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from a local resident regarding a possible scam from Publishers Clearing House (PCH). The complainant told detectives with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office that they had received a phone call at their residence from a so called PCH representative stating the local Murray County resident had won $350,000.00 and a new Mercedes car. The caller told the local resident in order to complete the transaction for winning they must first wire a predetermined amount of money via Western Union to an account. The resident took the phone number of the caller and other information (as much as possible) and called MCSO to report the scam. MCSO investigators followed up on the information and found that the PCH call had originated from Jamaica and that it was indeed a scam. Further investigations revealed that multiple residents in Murray County have recently received phone calls from bogus individuals asking for anything from money transfers to name and date of birth information from the person answering the phone. MCSO also learned this week that Varnell, Georgia residents (Whitfield County) has been inundated with bogus calls as well this year after MCSO was contacted by the Varnell Police Department to share investigative information. Varnell Police Department Lt. Scott Casey stated that some local residents in Varnell were actually scammed out of a significant amount of funds, and Varnell Police too has been investigating these calls to try and put an end to the scams. The information shared by the Varnell Police Department investigators prove that the scam and bogus phone calls of late are not just Murray County specific and anyone at anytime is subject to being contacted – both on land lines or cell phones. MCSO feels that there are victims in Murray County that have given money to these scams with no return on investment. These phone scams are against multiple state and federal laws including, but not limited to theft if money is transferred. If you are a victim of theft from these scams and can provide documentation (bank statements, wire transfer receipts etc…) then we encourage you to call MCSO and have an officer take a report. These investigations take time and usually span multiple jurisdictions, but we will put all available resources into finding those responsible and holding them accountable for their actions. You can also report the phone call violations (repeated calls etc…) to the Federal Communications Commission investigators by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC which we fully encourage from anyone contacted. Please don’t give money or other personal information out over the phone, and remember that if the caller or promotion sounds too good to be true then it probably is a scam so don’t become a victim!
SHERIFF GARY LANGFORD