Police: Two scams identified in area

Published 12:03 am Monday, October 22, 2012

NATCHEZ — Natchez police are warning against two scams that have victimized local residents.

The first scam, Detective Jerry Ford said, involves a mystery shopping ploy. Scammers ask the victim to deposit fake money orders into their bank account then withdraw the money and send a portion to the scammers.

Concordia Bank and Trust contacted NPD, Ford said, after a local woman deposited three money orders and shortly thereafter withdrew $900.

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Police were able to track down the woman, who claimed she had no idea she was involved in a scam, Ford said. The woman, he said, provided evidence of the scam.

A second scam, Ford said, takes advantage of the new Social Security payment method the U.S. Department of Treasury will implement next year.

Beginning March 1, the department will stop mailing out paper checks and switch to electronic payments.

The change will affect everyone who receives payments from the Social Security Administration, Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management and Department of Labor.

Local residents, Ford said, have reported to police that scammers purporting to be from the Social Security Administration have contacted them for bank account information for the new payment method.

Once the victims gave their bank account information to the scammers, Ford said, the scammers then cleaned out the victims’ accounts.

“People need to be cautious about who they give their information to and be aware there are always people who are scheming,” Ford said.

Ford encourages residents suspicious of a scheme to contact the Better Business Bureau or NPD to verify the credibility of a business.

Anyone wishing to report a scam can call NPD at 601-445-5565 or Crime Stoppers at 601-442-5000.