Scams have increased, along with the bad economy; however, awareness of the scams and how to combat them is also on the rise.
Sgt. Heath Balkom, a detective with the Minden Police Department said one of the most recent scams he has seen used the name of Publisher's Clearing House to obtain money from a local resident.
"The caller asked the resident if she wanted a public press release presentation of the check she had won and if she wanted news cameras and press there when she was presented her check," Balkom said. "Then, they asked her to go to a business or somewhere and get two money orders in the amount of $300 a piece for costs of news crews and such and would be reimbursed to her in her winnings."
Balkom has traced the number for the woman and it came back to Jamaica – a clear red flag to detectives.
"When you send a money gram, they will give you an address to send it to, but they can pick them up anywhere in the world," he said. "They can give a false name and location in the United States, but their telephone number will come back to Jamaica or England. We can't do anything about that. We can trace a number to where it originates, but the money order can be picked up anywhere."
In June, Balkom and Det. Chris Cheatham worked 10 to 15 scam cases.
Already this month, he said they have worked several more.
"Five or six victims have called us about possible scams, and two have brought checks to the police station," Balkom said. "We just want people to know if they have any questions, please come to the police department. Please let us check on it for you."
Balkom said the department does not want to see innocent victims have to make restitution because they felt they had won money and then spent it in good faith.