State Police reminds people to be aware of scams

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Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania State Police Central Interdiction Unit in conjunction with the Hampden Township Police Department saved a Hampden Township, Cumberland County, elderly couple from being victimized during a recent scam attempt.

Police say on  December 14 a suspicious package was sent to the Philippines,  upon further investigation, was discovered to have $14,500 secreted within the contents of a magazine. Troopers from the Interdiction Unit traced the package back to the elderly couple. While being interviewed, the couple told the Troopers that they had won an international sweepstakes of $750,000, and were paying the taxes ahead of time as instructed by a “lawyer” from New York who was handling the processing of the winnings.

The couple also informed the Troopers that they had just sent $7300 to an address in Florida a week prior. The address belonged to another elderly man who was a victim of the same scam and was being instructed to forward the money. The money was seized and all $21,800 will be returned to the Hampden Township couple.

Captain David Heckman, Director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation Drug Law Enforcement Division said “Due to the great efforts of the Central Interdiction Unit, this couple will get all of their money back. They are one of the lucky ones as more often than not; victims of scams never recoup any money sent. Making people aware of these scams and how to avoid them is the best defense in trying to keep people from being victimized.” Heckman went on to comment that “the efforts of the Pennsylvania State Police Interdiction Unit are not strictly about confiscating, seizing, and forfeiting money. It’s about identifying and thwarting criminal activity.”

The Pennsylvania State Police would like to remind people of a few basic tips. It is more than likely a scam if you:

-Are asked to send money upfront for any sort of fee to include taxes, processing, or shipping to get your winnings.

-Are asked to send money via wire transfer.

-“Win” a lottery or sweepstakes that you never entered.

-Are sent a check to deposit money then asked to send a portion back.

Also, do not give your personal information (SSN, bank account #’s, etc) to anyone, unless you know who you are giving it to and why they need the information.

Remember, if sounds too good to be true then it probably is, so seek a second opinion if you are unsure.