Seligman resident becomes target of scam

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Seligman man is warning area residents about a new telephone scam after he recently became the target of the fraudulent scheme.

"The scam originates overseas," said Vernon Rainsburg, of Seligman. "They call and say that you have $2.5 million coming to you and a new Mercedes."

Rainsburg said he was aware of telephone scams, therefore when he received the call he asked for the caller's address and telephone number and said he would call them back. The address he was given was for a location in Florida, but when he called the state he learned that the address did not exist.

"They wanted me to go to Walmart and get a money card for $350, and then give them the numbers off the back of the card," said Rainsburg. "If you do that, they take your $350 and you don't get anything. You can't get your $350 back either."

Instead of falling for the scam, Rainsburg notified the Barry County Sheriff's Office about the call and then reported the scam to the Missouri Attorney General. Both had already heard of similar scams.

"We hear about these scams one after another, all the time," said Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly. "They give you a number to call, but most of the time that number is for a location overseas. These scams are very hard to trace.

"We need to pass on to people out there that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," continued Epperly. "This is one of those deals. They are not going to give you a new car."

Epperly said other common telephone scams are aimed at obtaining information that is used to access bank accounts.

"If there is any question about a call like this, make sure to contact me or one of my detectives to verify it," said Epperly. "Reporting these types of calls to the attorney general's office is also a good avenue."

Although Rainsburg did not purchase a Walmart gift card or lose $350 to his fraudulent caller, he did rack up a hefty telephone bill when he returned the call. His telephone company notified him about the excess charges after the call was made.

"I ran up a bill that was over $100, and I only spoke with them for a few minutes," said Rainsburg. "That's another way they can get you. Luckily, my telephone company removed the charges when they realized it was a scam."

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