THAYER -- In August, several Thayer residents received letters in the mail from companies claiming they had won a substantial sum of money.
The Thayer Police Department, just last week, received complaints of a similar scam and is advising local residents to pay attention to what they are getting involved in.
"One resource that can be used to guard against such scams is the Internet Crime Complaint Center," Thayer Police Chief David Bailey said.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center is an alliance between the National White Crime Center and the FBI. Its mission is to address crime committed over the Internet. For victims of Internet crime, the agency provides an easy way to alert authorities of a suspected violation.
"For law enforcement and regulatory agencies, the Internet Crime Complaint Center offers a central repository for complaints related to Internet crime, uses the information to qualify patterns, and provides timely statistical data of current trends," Bailey said.
Bailey said some of the features include:
* Provides a central point for Internet crime victims to report and alert an appropriate agency on-line at www.ic3.gov.
* Collects, review, and refers Internet crime complaints to law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction to aid in preventive and investigative efforts.
* Identifies current crime trends over the Internet.
The FBI also offers help to those who think they may have been or have the potential to be at risk.
"This is the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. It asks questions like, 'Are you a safe Internet user?' Area residents may be at risk if they answer yes, to any of the following questions," Bailey said.
* Do you visit Web sites by clicking on links within an e-mail?
* Do you reply to e-mails from companies or persons you are not familiar with?
* Have you received packages to hold or ship to someone you met on the Internet?
* Have you been asked to cash checks and wire funds to an employer you met online?
* Would you cash checks or money orders received through an online transaction without first confirming their legitimacy?
* Would you provide your personal/banking information as a result of an e-mail notification?
The Thayer Police Department is asking the community not to become an Internet crime victim. "If an individual or a business receives something that is associated with Secret Shopper or receives a check saying you won a prize, it is more than likely a scam," Bailey said.
He said just last week more scams have developed in the area. Because of his department's investigation he would not go into detail about the alleged scams.
For more information or to test online practices visit: www.LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com.