• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Sheriff’s Department warns of scams

Perhaps the person who faxed Wayne Wright a “business proposal” Nov. 28, didn’t know that Wright no longer worked at that number, or that until July 31, he was the Woodford County Sheriff.

The letter, from an “Andrew Tucker” of a “London-based law firm,” says that because Wright shares the last name of a recently deceased person, he should also share the $10,950,777 life insurance payout.

“Tucker” asked Wright to contact him.

When The Sun informed Wright, who now works at Jack Kain Ford, of the get-rich opportunity, he laughed.

“No, I will not take him up on that offer. I’m not going to help anybody steal anybody else’s money,” Wright said. “I used to get letters (like that) all the time.”

With the holiday season upon us, Wright’s former coworkers in the Sheriff’s Department are trying to get the word out about some of the scams they’ve seen – and how to avoid them.

(Some of these, like the IRS and gift card ploys, were highlighted in several Sun articles in 2015 and 2016.) Wright’s successor, Sheriff (and former Versailles Police Chief) Johnny Wilhoit, said the number of scams, many of them internet-driven, seem to be growing every year.

Wilhoit said many of the rip-offs are targeted at senior citizens, who may be harder to reach through the internet.

“If you don’t recognize that phone number, don’t answer it. Don’t pick up the phone,” Wilhoit said.

Wilhoit and company say one way to avoid common phone-related rip-offs is to know that neither the IRS nor F.B.I. will contact you that way.

Wilhoit and company have prepared a list of more than a dozen scams reported in Woodford County over the past few years – and how to avoid becoming the next victim. (Copies are available at the Sheriff’s Department.)

They include:

Jury duty/court summons: A caller says you missed jury duty or a court date, which can be cleared up with a money or debit card transaction.

“Spring breaker”: The caller tells you a family member’s been arrested or had an accident and needs you to wire money for bail or damages.

Tree trimming: A caller or someone in person shows up to say your trees are too close to utility lines and need to be cut, then charges twice their quote or leaves after payment before finishing the job.

Lottery: Someone contacts you to say you won a large amount of money in a foreign country and need to pay shipping and handling charges with a debit card to receive your winnings.

Virus scam: An email offers a service contract for your computer, but delivers a fake antivirus program that locks your computer up. Only by paying another fee (perhaps more than once) can you unlock your computer. Internet “friend” scam: A person reaches out to you via email or social media to build a relationship online, then asks you to send them money or gift cards.

The department advises that many scam artists will prey on people’s religious faith in order to gain their trust – and that many victims are so embarrassed by being taken that they don’t seek help from law enforcement.

Among the resources for Woodford County residents are the Sheriff’s Department (873-3119), Versailles Police Department (873-3126), the state Attorney General’s Office at (502) 696-5300, and the Central Kentucky Better Business Bureau at (859) 259-1008.

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