Police warn of scams, counterfeit bills

Published 11:45 am Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brewton police are warning of several holiday scams, including counterfeit bills that have circulated through the area in recent weeks.

One of the scams involves checks for “sweepstakes” winnings.

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“The Brewton Police Department has received several calls from people receiving bogus checks in the mail,” Police Chief Monte McGougin said. “The checks are sent with a letter stating that you have won a lottery or sweepstakes. They ask you to cash the check and return a portion of it back to them, via Western Union, to receive the rest of your prize money.”

After someone sends the money, the bank usually notifies the scam victim that the check was no good.

“The holidays are a prime time for such acts to take place,” McGougin said.

Merchants should also be aware of counterfeit bills, McGougin said.

“There have been a large number of counterfeit bills circulating throughout the area,” he said.

McGougin urged anyone who believes they are a victim of a scam to contact police.

Other holiday safety tips from the Brewton Police Department include:

• Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must go at night, go with a friend or family member.

• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

• Do not carry a purse or wallet if possible.

• Always carry your driver license or identification card along with necessary cash or checks.

• Even though you are rushed and thinking about other things, stay alert to your surroundings.

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

• Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.

• Keep cash in your front pocket.

• Notify the credit card issuer if your credit card is lost or stolen.

• Keep a record of all your credit card numbers in a safe place.

• Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.