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Scammers try threat, lottery win to defraud

COTTONWOOD – Scammers are working familiar angles to defraud area residents of their money.

Cottonwood Police Chief Terry Cochran reported two incidents last week.

A resident received a call from an individual representing Idaho Power who said an employee was coming over to shut off the victim’s power. The scammer said the resident had an overdue bill and needed to make payment to prevent the shutoff.

“The citizen explained that was impossible, as he had Avista,” Cochran said, adding this is the power provider for the city. “The caller was adamant, even to the point of saying they had several customers in Cottonwood,” and the citizen hung up on them.

A second report was from a woman whose elderly parents are receiving numerous calls regarding lottery winnings.

“They are demanding money up front so they can deliver her winnings,” Cochran said. “As I’ve informed her, it is illegal for any lottery winning to demand payment up front.”

“So, we can add this to the grandparents scam, the IRS scam, the ISP scam, the lottery scam, and many others,” he said.

Several scams have been making the rounds lately, including impersonation of official agencies such as the IRS and Idaho State Police, that use implied threats of prosecution and imprisonment to scare victims into paying money to resolve fraudulent transgressions.

Law enforcement advises residents to not provide personal information (Social Security, bank/credit card numbers, etc.) over the phone to callers; and if there is a question, hang up and find the number in the phone book to the agency/entity in question and inquire yourself. Scam calls should also be reported to local law enforcement.


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