Cedar City Police lieutenant targeted by scam call on his cell phone

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CEDAR CITY — Fraudsters posing as agents of Publishers Clearing House called the wrong number if they were looking for an easy mark after a Cedar City police officer picked up the call on his cell phone.

The Cedar City Police Department issued another scam alert in a Facebook post to area residents after scammers attempted to take advantage of Lt. Keith Millett Wednesday morning when they called him at work on his cell phone.

“He knew the minute the call started that it was a scam, he just stayed on to see what it was all about,” Cedar City Police Sgt. Jerry Womack said.

The “very convincing” caller identifying himself as Michael Rogers, a male who spoke fluent English with a Middle Eastern accent, told Millett that he had won $480,000 and gave him a claim number while congratulating him on his winnings, according to the Facebook post.

The caller also furnished Millett with a callback number and told him there was a film crew waiting outside near the residence while reassuring him multiple times that this was not a scam call, and that he, Rogers, was a “good Christian person that would never take advantage of anyone.”

Rogers told Millett that once the taxes of $1,800 were paid, the remaining balance would be sent to him. The fraudster then instructed Millett to go to the local Walmart and send the $1,800 to an address he would provide, directing Millett to remain on the line during the process to “make sure he wouldn’t miss any of the instructions,” the post reads.

Millett confronted the scammer over the phone and terminated the call before the address was provided, and attempted to call the number back only to hear a “strange, recorded message that wouldn’t let the call go through,” Womack said.

Womack added that no legitimate company would ever require payment before issuing a monetary prize or winnings, and if one is required then that is a good indication that it is a scam.

He added that these types of scams still work because “we are called by the victims who want to report them every few weeks,” he said.

Eight days ago, the Cedar City Police Department posted a message on its Facebook page alerting residents to a jury-duty scam where fraudsters posing as Iron County Sheriff’s personnel were able to swindle several Cedar City residents over several days.

“The last few days, the CCPD has numerous fraud/scam calls from victims who have fallen for the scam,” the post reads.

Read more: ‘Jury duty’ scammers swindle Cedar City residents

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office released a similar alert earlier in the month about a scammer who bilked a resident out of thousands of dollars by posing as Lt. Trevor Benson with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The caller told the resident there were two warrants for his arrest and that he needed to send two money packets to clear the charges.

“A unique circumstance to this fraud attempt was the suspect using the names of actual certified personnel, and also their ability to clone the Sheriff’s Office phone number, giving a legitimate appearance to their victims,” sheriff’s Public Information Officer Lt. David Crouse said.

Read more: Phone scammer posing as member of Sheriff’s Office bilks resident out of $3,500

“Remember if that it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Womack said, adding, “and the fact is you can’t get something for nothing.”

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