ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) – Police in Southern Utah say scammers are targeting residents with phone and email scams, using detailed information found online to target victims.
“Go on the internet. Go and do a Google search, type your name in. And see what type of information you can pull up about yourself. That’s what they’re doing,” said Sgt. Heidi Palmer with St. George Police.
Police say a recent Publishers Clearing House scam has hit the area, promising people they won money. But they could actually be targeting people who entered a sweepstakes with the help of information found online.
Some scammers will develop friendships and trust with victims before asking for money.
“They’ll spend months conversing with you via email or text messages or online, then it’s all of a sudden they’re starving, or they have a child that’s hungry. It’s hard for somebody who has found a friend to say no,” said Palmer.
Palmer says that some scammers are using the real names of local law enforcement found on police websites to scare victims into thinking they’ve done something wrong, like miss jury duty or not paying a parking ticket.
“There’s not a dumb question. If you have apprehension, just call us. Ask us: This is what’s going on, is this real, is it not?,” said Palmer.
Police say a good question to ask yourself is: Does something sound too good to be true? If it does, it probably is.