ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Authorities are warning consumers to be on the look-out for scams, acknowledging that there's been a large increase of residents being conned out of significant amounts of money. The warning comes from Ascension Parish Sheriff Leland Falcon who says the con persons usually target the elderly residents and others who may be tempted by advertisements offering easy money.
Falcon says most of these scams originate outside of the United Sates and are being run by foreign nationals.
One of the scams seeks out secret shoppers wherein you would receive a fraudulent check and instructed to cash it at your local bank. Participants are then instructed to keep part of the check funds for their services, then send money grams, Western Union wire transfers, bank money orders, etc. to pre-arranged addresses. By the time the check is discovered fraudulent, participants have already mailed money as instructed. The bank then charges the victim's account and just that easy your cost is double the value of the check
Another popular scam targeting the elderly is when people are contacted to urgently send money because their family member is ill or in trouble and needs money to come home.
Another scam is the popular IRS scam in which persons are notified that they owe a large tax debt, but could avoid further action including jail if they send money, usually $2500 to $5000.
The sheriff says residents should remember the old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".