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Police warn residents to avoid scams

PALESTINE, June 25, 2013--This time of year, police see an increase in the number of scams, or possible scams which are reported. According to Palestine Police Sgt. James Muniz, residents should learn to recognize these schemes and be very careful to avoid them.

Sgt Muniz advises citizens to be extremely cautious of any solicitation they receive by mail or over the phone. Residents should remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. “We feel it is extremely important people realize that get rich quick schemes don’t work,” said Sgt. Muniz. It is also important to avoid giving personal information to solicitors. Sgt. Muniz says residents should only give personal information to companies they have contacted, checked out, and verified. Personal information such as bank information, driver’s license number, social security number, and date of birth should never be given if a resident is contacted by someone over the telephone.

One popular scam claims the recipient of the letter, email or phone call has won a contest or a lottery. The scam varies from there, but typically includes asking for personal information, such as bank account number, so the winnings may be deposited. Other variations include asking the recipient to pay taxes, or some kind of fee, in order to claim their prize, which results in the recipient losing whatever money they submit and can also leave the recipient’s account open to fraud.

Sgt. Muniz says, “It’s real simple. You can’t win a lottery that you never entered. You can’t win a contest that you haven’t ever played.”

Other recent scams include callers who claim to be with a company or organization, such as the Social Security office, which sound legitimate. They then ask the recipient of the call to verify personal information. Sgt. Muniz warns that legitimate organizations will have your information on file, and should have no reason to call and ask recipients to verify by phone.

If you receive a phone call, email, or letter that seems suspicious, Sgt. Muniz urges you to alert the police in order to avoid, and help others avoid such scams. Letters and emails can be brought to the station, or residents may call the police department, and police will help the recipient determine legitimacy. The Palestine Police Department can be reached at 903-731-8436.  


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