Digital Exclusive: Watsontown Police Department warns residents of scam after resident receives $1,978.16 check

Digital Exclusive

WATSONTOWN, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Watsontown Police Department is cautioning residents of the borough and surrounding areas after a new scam was brought to light by a resident.

“We had a resident receive a check in the mail for the sum of $1,978.16. There was a letter in it and in that letter, it requested that individual take that check, cash it,” Chief Rodney Witherite of the Watsontown Police Department said.

The letter states that the person who received it will be participating in a consumer evaluation. The resident was requested to purchase and activate American Express gift cards worth $1,500 and email pictures of the front and back of the cards to a specified email address. The remaining $478 would be compensation for their participation.

Witherite says scams like this usually target the elderly. He says if a request, like this one, seems too good to be true, it probably is.

“Never give your personal information to strangers, either on the email or phone. Keep in mind the IRS will never call you on the phone. They always send letters also,” Witherite said.

He says if you suspect a scam, you should bring it to the attention of your local police department.

“Let us determine what it is for you before you take any actions,” Witherite said.

Witherite says the scammers in this case are from out of the county and the complaint has been forwarded to the FBI for further investigation.

Another scam is also circling Luzerne County. Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis and the Luzerne County Court Administration are warning residents about a phone scam being perpetrated around the country.

Victims of the scam are being called from a number that may look like it is coming from local magisterial judges’ offices using spoofing technology. Victims are told that a family member is in trouble and they must pay a fine, deposited to a bank account.

The district attorney says there is nothing that can be done to stop the calls from coming as they appear to be originating from legitimate numbers. However, she encourages those receiving suspicious calls to use extreme caution.

All questions about the validity of a call can be directed to the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office at (570) 825-1674.

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