Holiday Scams Continue - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Holiday Scams Continue

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It's the time of year when holiday gift purchases in various stores and online make it easier to hide international thieves stealing your money and identity.

Valley News Live has received a tremendous amount of calls over the past few days from viewers blowing the whistle on scams.

They can happen anywhere- even here in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, where a resident received a call that he could claim his $600,000 Publishers Clearing House prize if he sent them $1,400. After the recipient hung up, the scammer called again, impersonating the Otter Tail County sheriff to say the organization had been verified by the FBI and he could send a check. 

"It was a new twist of a familiar scheme and a scam and it's problematic just about everywhere now," says Sheriff Schlueter.

Not just locally. He says all the information online makes it easy for professional, international scammers to find out about you, the people you know and those around you. Finding out where the call came from, who made it and how to get your money back is nearly impossible.

"They have the ability with Internet phone connections to switch those calls a number of different ways and they are virtually untraceable," he says.

If you do get caught in a scam, watch your accounts for withdrawals or new accounts opened with your Social Security Number. So use common sense, verify what someone is telling you and never give out your personal information. 

"They want your identification, they want your identity and they want your money," he says.

Schlueter says the best thing to do when you know you've received a scam call is hang up. Then inform local law enforcement so they can spread the word to others.

The Federal Trade Commission has shut down some of these scammers and if you call a number verified as a scam, you might hear this:

"This is a message from the Federal Trade Commission. The telephone number you have just called has been disconnected because it may have been involved in a scam. But no matter how real it seems, that message was a trick."

We've made a list of scam phone numbers sent to us by viewers. You can see it by clicking on the hot button.

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