Police warn of Donald Trump scam

Published 5:43 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Police are telling residents that despite hope, Donald Trump is not giving away money locally.

It’s a scam, and law enforcement countywide is once again urging the public to remember, “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.”

Andalusia Police Department investigator Jody Scott and Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole said residents have complained of a caller portraying himself as “Christopher Jackson,” a member of the Donald Trump sweepstakes drawing.

“We haven’t been able to find that as valid contest, first off,” Scott said. “Then, the caller advises the victim that they have won the monthly sweepstakes of $85,000 and wants to know if the victim is interested in collecting the prize money.

“The caller then advises the victim to go to the local CVS pharmacy and buy a Green Dot Money Pack Scratch card for $200,” he said. “The caller tells the victim the cost of the card will be $205, but to make sure the card has $200 on it.  Then the victim is given instructions on where to send the card or where to send the card number.”

Scott said the caller also advises the victim of a security code, and “if anyone calls asking about the cash prize and not to tell them about the prize unless they know what the code is.”

Scott said the caller attempts to make the whole thing sound very official by using familiar names and businesses.

“Ones like Donald Trump, Walgreens, CVS, Fed-EX, WalMart, and other familiar business names, but please do not be fooled by these scams,” Scott said. “You will not receive the $85,000, and you will be out $205.”

Scott said this is only one example of a criminal’s attempt to garner money.

“There are literally thousands of these phone and Internet scams going on every day nationwide,” he said. “Most of the money from these scams end up in foreign countries and are almost impossible to track down and even harder to prosecute due to jurisdictional entanglements. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.”

Bedsole said the Jackson man identified in the call is in no way related to Florala Police Officer Chris Jackson. Instead, Bedsole said he believes the criminal began using the name after a Florala resident reported a similar call to the FPD.

“Officer Chris Jackson called the number back and identified himself as a police officer,” he said. “I think that’s where he got the name from.”