HEBER SPRINGS — Heber Springs Police Department is reminding the public to be careful in responding to out-of-the-ordinary phone calls where money is requested or even demanded.

The police report having received several complaints after a resident received a phone call and was duped into sending money to the caller. Often the caller, who is very insistent, tells the person they have won a prize, but need to send a sum of money to process the winning. Unfailingly the winning is very lucrative and far greater than the amount required to “process” it.

Occasionally instead of a prize award, the caller tells the person they are in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and need to send money right away to avoid serious penalties, including jail time.

The callers are so persuasive and insistent, that some in the community have lost money. At least two in the area lost $200 to this scam, with one person losing several thousand dollars before the ruse was detected, a department spokesman said.

Following some simple rules can avoid loss.

“Never send money to someone you don’t know,” a department spokesman said. “And nobody will ever ask you to send money in order to collect money you’ve won.”

Often the calls are from what appears to be phones using local area codes, done using spoofing software as the calls are most often from overseas. The callers tend to prey on the elderly, the spokesman said.

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