Updated Mon, Jul 14, 2014 10:26 am
Two different scams have started to increase locally, according to law enforcement, causing the need for more awareness from the public.
The Athens County Sheriff's Office has received reports of scams involving both Craigslist and the Internal Revenue Service, said Lt. Jason Kline.
Victims either receive word in the mail, by phone or by an entity claiming to be the IRS, saying they owe money from their taxes.
Most scammers request money be sent through Green Dot Money Pak or Western Union.
"They've started using Green Dot Money Pak because I think Western Union has gotten much better about their security," Kline said.
The IRS scam has been going on for several months, but a new scam coming from Craigslist is also being reported.
The report was of a specific scammer who wanted to hire a nurse for an elderly relative. The alleged scammer tells a job applicant that they will be paid preemptively and mails them two checks prior to the start of the job. The applicant is directed to cash the checks, then send a portion of the money back, according to the sheriff's office.
Fortunately, the person who reported the scam to the sheriff's office did not cash the checks.
This form of scam comes in many forms, according to the sheriff's office.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Kline said. "You just have to think, 'I won a lottery but I've never played that lottery,' or 'I've never lived in the state where they tell me I owe taxes.'"
The problem with catching perpetrators of scams is jurisdiction of the crimes, Kline said.
"Because a lot of these scams originate from (foreign countries), we have a very limited jurisdiction," Kline said.
But just because the local authorities may not be able to make an arrest doesn't mean citizens shouldn't report the scams.
"We can send them to the appropriate federal agency or at least make a note that we have this report," Kline said. "If people don't tell us, we can't do anything about it."
To report a possible scam, call the sheriff's office at (740) 593-6633.