Selma residents target of recent phone scam

Published 7:37 pm Thursday, June 5, 2014

By Christopher Edmunds

The Selma Times-Journal


Over the past few weeks, Selma residents have been targeted by a familiar phone scam.

Desmond McWilliams said he received a call two weeks ago from an individual claiming to represent Publishers Clearing House. The individual told McWilliams he had won $250,00 and a new car.

To claim his prize, however, McWilliams was told to send either $100 or $1,000 to pay for shipping.

McWilliams said he could tell from the beginning the call was a fake.

“I could hear people in the background laughing,” he said, “so I could tell that I wasn’t serious or professional.”

McWilliams said he was familiar with this scam because people have contacted his friends and family with similar stories about prizes and shipping fees.

Lt. Curtis Muhannad handles fraud cases with the Selma Police Department. He said phone scams are nothing new to the area.

“The most common and frequent scam in our area is a secret shoppers scam,” Muhannad said. “People will sign up to be secret shoppers and give feedback, and in return, they’ll receive fraudulent checks.”

Muhannad said phone scams typically target the elderly, people on fixed incomes and people who have a tendency to gamble.

“These scams usually come for people who are out there fishing, trying to enter all kinds of contests and win prizes,” he said.

Scams are usually easy to spot because of the methods used, Muhannad said.

“If you have to send money to get money, it’s a scam,” he said.

Muhannad advises all citizens of Selma and Dallas County to simply hang up the phone if people start asking for money or personal information.

Anyone contacted about fraudulent prizes or any other type of scam can report the phone number to the Selma Police Department for investigation.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true,” Muhannad said.