(KCPW News) While sending money to someone you don’t know or giving out your bank account number on the phone may sound like an obvious scam, many people in Utah are still victims. And South Salt Lake Police Spokesman Gary Keller says there has been a recent increase in scams in the city. Victims will typically get a call from someone claiming to be a relative asking for money, or calls from distant area codes telling them they’ve won a prize and need to pay taxes on the winnings. Keller says residents also receive fake checks or money orders in the mail.
“They occur all the time, but it’s unusual that we have received three or four in real close proximity, within one week,” he says. “If we’re getting that many what worries me is how many that are not being reported and how many people that are being scammed out of their hard earned money.”
Keller says perpetrators have recently thrown in a new twist: they’re conning two people into conning each other.
He says some scams are so outrageous it’s hard to believe anyone would fall for them. But he adds the con artists are very good, and the economy is poor.
“People think wow, you know I can earn this money just by cashing the check and sending the rest back or my kids are in trouble,” says Keller. “Usually they’ll prey on elderly people because they’re more trusting. But bottom line if it sounds too good to be true, it’s a scam.”
Keller says if you suspect something might be a scam, immediately hang up and call authorities. He says a legitimate caller will never ask for confidential information over the phone.