By PETER KASPARI
Scammers claiming to be representatives from Publishers Clearing House are now telling potential victims that law enforcement will verify that they are legitimate.
A local resident received a fraudulent phone call on Wednesday from someone claiming to be a PCH representative, according to Fort Dodge Police Chief Tim Carmody.
In that phone call, the person claiming to be a representative said that a member of the FDPD's command staff would be calling the local resident to verify they were not fraudulent.
"Please rest assured that we do not make such calls in support of a private business or an organization like Publishers Clearing House," Carmody said.
Similar incidents have been reported in other counties, according to Carmody.
Over the past month, scammers claiming to be PCH representatives have been calling residents in both Fort Dodge and Webster County. They have attempted to scam money from local residents by offering them millions in dollars in cash or a new car.
The scammers have asked for money to be wired to them through Western Union, by loading a Green Dot Money Pak card or by using an ATM card to transfer the requested funds.
The calls may have an 876 area code, which originates in Jamaica.
"These individuals are very persistent and are known to call numerous times both day and night in order to get what they want," Carmody said. "They've even used verbal threats over the phone trying to make you believe that they are close by, just so you'll change your mind and send them the money."
The scammers adjust their methods frequently to try to find new ways of getting money, Carmody said.
Anyone who has been targeted by a PCH scam is asked to report the incident to the real Publishers Clearing House by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carmody said anyone who has been scammed should contact the Fort Dodge Police Department at 573-1426.