By Tom Hintgen Otter Tail County Correspondent

County sheriff deputies continue to alert Otter Tail County residents to beware of scam artists.

Scam attempts have also been reported in Pelican Rapids, according to Police Chief Jeff Stadum–who has responded to numerous scam related calls that appear to have escalated in recent years–and months.

While most county residents do not take the bait from these illegal contacts via phone, e-mail and letters, every now and then a county resident makes a wrong decision. The result is oftentimes loss of a substantial amount of money and possibly identity theft.

A case in point was Oct. 6 when a resident east of Fergus Falls wrongly sent three money grams to a location in Jamaica, totaling $3,250.

“In many instances, those scammed are senior citizens who are vulnerable and kind hearted,” said Sheriff Office Administrative Lt. Keith Van Dyke. “Scammers talk a good line and, unfortunately, some seniors fall into a trap.”

Van Dyke said that oftentimes the sheriff’s department works in conjunction with area banks to persuade family members to become conservators for people no longer able to properly handle their financial affairs.

“Through conservatorship, a person appointed by a court or regulatory authority can supervise a vulnerable adult or other person with financial affairs,” he said.

Others, in recent days, avoided scam attempts.

On Oct. 5 a resident of rural Dent contacted the sheriff’s office and reported a bogus Publishers Clearing House financial contact. The county resident refused to give the caller any personal information.

The following day, on Oct. 6, a rural Henning resident called the sheriff’s office and said she was contacted in an attempted and common IRS lawsuit phone scam. The resident, as in the previous case, refused to give the caller any personal information.

“There oftentimes are red flags, especially if a caller becomes verbally abusive,” said Van Dyke. “Hang up and call the sheriff’s office at 218-998-8555.