State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Police Warn Residents to Watch Out for Costly Phone Scam

by on June 07, 2015 4:00 PM

Every year thousands of people lose anywhere from a few dollars to their life saving because phone scams.

It's no different in State College.

So far two people have fallen victim to a recent scam and lost more than $4,000 combined.

Here is how the scam works: A woman calls claiming to be your granddaughter and tells you she is in legal trouble. Then a man comes on the line who claims to be a lawyer and says you need to send money using ITunes gift cards so your granddaughter can be released from jail.

Scams like these are far from rare.

"These scams have been around for a long time," says Ferguson Township Police Chief Diane Conrad. "Scammers usually ask for GreenDots or MoneyGrams as part of payments."

Officer Kelly Aston is a community relations and crime specialist for the State College Police Department. She offers this advice, if you think you may be getting scammed.

"Take your time and do an investigation," says Aston. "Do some research before taking immediate action."

Two common scams that seem to happen around this time of year are the lottery and the IRS scams, according to Aston.

"People call and let the person know they won the lottery," says Aston. "They then ask for payments or their personal information."

According to Aston, the IRS scam is when someone calls claiming to be a government agent. They'll say you owe the government money and if not paid immediately you could face criminal charges.

"The IRS will never call you," says Aston. "No government agency will threaten anyone to make payments fast or give personal information over the phone."

If you're not sure whether you're being scammed, take the time to talk with friends and family. If that doesn't help, call the police and ask for help before making any rash decisions.


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Abhar Shah is an intern with A senior broadcast journalism major at Penn State University Shah is part of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. Abhar is also involved with THON and the Penn State Cricket team.
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