Scam pinches at least one victim for money

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Jackson Police Department is working on a fraud case from earlier this week after an unidentified victim was convinced to send money via Western Union to a suspected scammer.

The victim began receiving text messages and telephone calls from an unknown caller from an out-of-area phone number. The caller threatened the man’s family if he did not send money. The victim was scared enough to send money via Western Union, but later called police after the caller demanded even more money.

Investigators were able to determine personal information about the victim was gathered from a “What’s Up” app, and pictures of his family used in the threats were taken from his Facebook page.

“It’s a different twist on the money gram scams that started with ‘you’ve won, just send us a processing fee,’” Cpl. James Phillips said. “Now these crooks start claiming your loved ones are in trouble, and they need you to send money to help. [Another ruse] is claiming they are the IRS, a bill collector, or a utility company you supposedly owe money to, and if you don’t pay you’ll be arrested, sued, or have your service interrupted.”

The latest rip-off local police have seen is one that caught the latest victim this week. Personal information is harvested from various social media sites so that a con artist appears to have inside knowledge of intimate family details.

All scams have one thing s in common, Phillips said. They ask for money that can’t be traced.

“You have to send money via Western Union, Money Gram, prepaid credit cards, or some other untraceable money transfer method,” Phillips said. “These are scams are perpetrated by cowards who only want to take your money. These cases are nearly impossible to track and investigate and they almost always lead outside the country where our laws do not apply. Victims almost never get their money back.”