Scam callers pretending to be FBI, police warn

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An Apache Junction woman was the target of a telephone scam, but she avoided becoming a victim by checking out the call, according to a press release from the Apache Junction Police Department.

In late May, the woman notified the police department that she had received a phone call from someone identifying themselves as an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The caller told her she had won the lottery, according to the release.

During the conversation the caller advised the woman to contact her local police chief to confirm this. The woman contacted Apache Junction Police Chief Thomas E. Kelly who confirmed not that she was a lottery winner but that the call was a scam, according to the release.

Local police say the FBI lottery scam is a common one where a potential victim receives either a letter or a phone call advising them that the “FBI Anti-Terrorist and International Fraud Division” received notice that the victim was selected to win a large sum of money. They say the FBI has investigated this claim and determined it is a legitimate lottery win and they are authorizing the victim to pay the fee to have the money mailed to them, according to the AJPD.

The fee for the lottery winnings will likely only be the start of the fraud, police say. The victim will be asked for more money in order to deliver the winnings. No matter how much the victim pays, the lottery winnings will never end up in their bank account, according to the release.

The Apache Junction Police Department warns residents to always be aware of these types of scams. They come in many different forms but ultimately they all have the same general characteristics, which include:

•A person is advised he or she has won a prize, a sum of money or a lottery.

•To have the money released, the person must send a check or money order, or provide a credit card number.

Below are a few tips the real FBI has released to help ensure citizens are not victimized by these scams:

•If a person is asked to pay any money out-of-pocket before the prize will be released to him or her, it is a scam. It is also illegal under federal law.

•Never pay any money from one’s bank account or through money wire payments or payment cards like Green Dot MoneyPak, PayPal or any other cards or form of payment.

•Never play along with the caller. Report the matter to the attorney general’s office or other law enforcement.

Citizens who believe he or she may have been a victim of this scam should contact the AJPD non-emergency number at 480-982-8260 or call the Consumer Protection division, toll-free, at 800-472-2600.

To learn about other scams, visit www.fbi.gov/scams-safety.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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