FARMINGTON — Police are warning local residents to be cautious of phone calls claiming good fortune if the person provides money upfront.
A local senior citizen recently got a call telling her she could win money and a car if she paid some money. The woman didn't fall for the scam, Police Department secretary Bonnie Pomeroy said.
"The callers were persistent," though, calling her several more times, she said. "Family members caught on and called the police.”
She said the calls sound similar to one an elderly Farmington man received this past summer. He was told he'd won a lottery but needed to pay taxes upfront. He spent about $15,000, she said.
Pomeroy said there's little police can do but continue to warn residents.
According to consumer information on the Maine Attorney General's Office website, http://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/scams.shtml, other potential frauds circulating include:
* A credit card scam via an automated phone call saying it's a company with a name like “card services,” “card holder services” or “credit card services.” The call claims the recipient can lower their interest rate and asks for a credit card number, Social Security number or other personal information.
* An insurance scam asking for the senior citizen by name, stating it's from Medicare or the “health office” and offering supplemental health insurance or prescription coverage.
Questions about Medicare may directed to Medicare offices at 1-800-633-4227.
* A scam targeting grandparents, who are told their grandchild needs help and asks them to send money immediately.
* A lottery/sweepstakes scam whereby a letter advises the recipient they've won a lottery and must wire money, often to Canada, to cover taxes and fees. The recipient deposits the phony lottery check, wires the money and discovers days later by the bank that the check bounced.
The Attorney General's Office recommends never giving out personal information, credit card or bank account information based on a phone call.