Police warn of new scam

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public about versions of the “Publisher’s Clearinghouse Scam” and the “Grandparents Scam” that surfaced Friday.

A county resident was contacted by a man calling himself Mike John Henry who stated he was a Publisher’s Clearinghouse representative notifying the call recipient that they had won $5.2 million. The intended victim was told to send money via Western Union so they could send the winnings.

The victim did send money, police said. When no winnings were forwarded and Publisher’s Clearinghouse was contacted, the scam was revealed.

Police said it appears the initial destination of the Western Union transaction was Jamaica. The case is still under investigation.

A deputy also learned from a county resident that a relative had received a call from a man stating a grandchild was injured in an accident and then placed in jail. The scammer said the grandchild was being held on a $4,000 bond.

The victim was told the bond could be paid with a Green Dot prepaid card and the scammer said he would call back to receive the numbers from the prepaid card.

A family member intervened in time before any transaction was made or personal information was handed out.

There are many varieties of telephone scams, according to the sheriff’s department. Often scammers prey on the elderly. The best option is to respond with a ‘no thanks’ and hang up.

Police urge the public to not fall for scams. Residents should not give out personal information or send money or gift cards if contacted by telephone, email or text.

Actual Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes winners never are contacted by phone and they do not have to pay any money up front to receive their cash prize, according to authorities. If someone falls for one of these scams and sends money to some location within the U.S, it’s nearly impossible for U.S. law enforcement to recover the money and locate the scammers, police have said. If the money is sent outside the United States, U.S. law enforcement can do absolutely nothing to help recover the loss.

Victims of The Publishers’ Clearing House Sweepstakes scam are ask to call The Publishers’ Clearing House Fraud Department at 1-800-392-4190 or email at abuse@pch.com.

In some phone scams, the caller may have partial information on the victim and may ask the intended victim to supply a full Social Security or banking account number.

In regard to the so-called “grandparent scam,” a deputy said the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department does not call relatives of an incarcerated individual and ask for a bond to be posted. A person can post bond from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the Dubois County Clerk’s office at the Courthouse or, after 4 p.m. and on weekends, bonds can be posted at the Dubois County Security Center.

An individual receiving a call about a relative in jail should get the city, county and state where the facility is located, along with an address and telephone number. Then, according to deputy Chris Tanner, contact your local police agency to assist in confirming if a relative is incarcerated at the facility.

“You should not give any person information or send money for a bond,” Tanner said.