Phone Scam Hits South Georgia, Stealing Hundreds From Elderly

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Updated By: Kara Duffy
February 25, 2014, 5pm

Thomasville, GA- It's the latest phone scam in South Georgia; a person calls, claiming you're the 'lucky' winner.

"They tell them that they have won money through some type of program, or grants and that in order for them to claim their prizes they have to send in some money on a Green Dot Card," said Lt. Eric Hampton, with the Thomasville Police Department.

A Green Dot Card is a prepaid MasterCard or Visa Card and operates like a gift card.

"They're asking for money up into hundreds of dollars," Lt. Hampton said. "One incident they actually asked the woman to send $200 and the next one they asked her to send $300."

Thomasville Police say the scam targets the elderly. Once the victim puts money on the card, the scammer asks for the number on the back of it. Then, with a few simple clicks of a mouse, the scammer transfers the money into their account, never to be heard from again.

"Once they get the money, the people cannot contact them anymore; the phone is dead at that time," Lt. Hampton added.

Thomasville Police say they've had several cases like this reported as of late; the most recent happened last week.

"Nothing is free," Lt. Hampton said. "So when somebody calls you and tells you you've won something or they've got something for you, but you have to send money before you can get it; that's a scam right there."

Police say anyone who thinks they have been a victim of this scam should contact them at: (229) 227-3249.

News Release: Georgia Department of Public Health

Updated: February 25, 2014, 2pm

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages Georgia residents to be extremely cautious when participating in health-related telephone surveys. Several residents have complained to DPH about suspicious phone calls.

Many of the calls come from area codes outside of Georgia. In some instances, the caller asks questions about medical and surgical information after telling the recipient that they are with the "department of health.” One resident reported the caller asked to speak to her teenage daughter. In other calls, the caller asks questions about ethnicity and religion, among others, and may be trying to sell goods or services. DPH’s Office of the Inspector General is investigating the phone calls.

“Right now, we do not know the real reason for the calls or what the caller is truly looking for,” said Rick Keheley, DPH’s inspector general, who is exploring whether the calls are connected to fraud. “We do know the calls are not coming from the Georgia Department of Public Health.”

DPH does occasionally use telephone surveys to gain information on health trends and it is important to understand the difference. DPH:

  • Will never ask for religious information

  • Will never ask for credit card information

  • Will never try to sell goods or services

  • Will always provide call back or contact information for verification

Residents with questions or those wishing to report a suspicious call should contact DPH’s Office of Inspector General at (404) 656-4409 or

News Release: Thomasville Police Department

The Thomasville Police Department is investigating two fraudulent telephone solicitation cases. On Thursday, February 20, 2014 at approximately 1:00 P.M., a female victim reported to police that she received a phone call from a man who told her that she had been picked out of thousands to receive a grant. She was then told that in order receive the grant, she would have to pay taxes in the amount of $220.00. The victim was then told to get a Green Dot Money card and put the money on it. The victim stated that she did get the card and called the man back and gave him the number on the back of the card. The victim stated that she was then told that she did not send enough money and that she needed to send $300.00. The victim stated that she did send the rest of the money. She realized later that she had been scammed out of a total of $520.00.

On February 13, 2014 at approximately 10:00 A.M., a female victim contacted the police department about a scam. The victim told police that she received a call from a man who stated that he was calling from United Cash Loan Company and that he could help her improve her credit history. The victim stated that she was told to go and purchase two Green Dot Cards in the amount of $232.00 and $198.00. The victim stated that she purchased the cards and gave the number to the caller. The victim later discovered that she had been scammed in the amount of $430.00.

The police department is asking citizens to be cautious about these types of calls from strangers. No one should give out any personal information or credit card numbers to people over the phone. If citizens need to speak with someone about such incidents, they can notify the Thomasville Police Department at 229-226-2101.