Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Columbia County News

Columbia County Sheriff BadgeSheriff Dept - phone scam targets county residents


A new telephone scam is making the rounds in Columbia County. Several area residents have reported bogus solicitation calls to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

This new scam informs residents that they have won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. The con man informs the “winner” that they must send money via Western Union as a processing fee to claim their prize. The calls are originating from overseas and the solicitor may be verbally threatening and make continuous harassing calls to the “winners”.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office offers these pointers to residents:

1.  No legitimate sweepstakes will require that you send any money to them.
2.  If you did not enter a particular sweepstakes…you did not win.
3.  Legitimate sweepstakes will not ask for your social security number or bank account numbers.
4.  If you did not enter the Canadian Lottery…you did not win.
5.  Never give anyone your bank account information or social security number. Your banking institution will never ask for the information over the phone.
6.  If you receive a call stating that you have won something and you know you did not enter, hang up the phone and do not engage in conversation with these scam artists.
7.  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Many of these telephone scams originate in Nigeria and may have their calls routed through Canada or the Caribbean. The Caller ID may show the calls coming from the United States but most likely a “Caller ID mask” is being used to fake where the call is coming from.

Again, it is best to not engage in conversation with the scam artists. The scam artists know that in these tough economic times, people may be willing to send them money in hopes of reaping a greater reward. Unfortunately, these greater rewards do not exist.

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