Beware of Holiday Scams

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‘Tis the season for giving and unfortunately, people exist who will take advantage. This holiday season beware of scams that could lead to dire consequences. Recently a Facebook scam claimed quite a few victims across counties. Known on social media as the “Today in Kansas Talk Show Scam,” it luckily wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

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On a Facebook page, Today in Kansas Talk Show, which has since been deleted, followers were promised prizes to the tune of $20,000 and flat screen televisions through what the site called a generous “Secret Santa.” Winners were notified and told to provide their names and addresses in order to receive their items. People from McPherson, Rice and Reno Counties entered the contest. Hundreds of people were told they had won anywhere from $20 to $2,000. After multiple excuses on the site ranging from illness to passing the buck off on to another party, none of the winners ever received their prizes.

The creator of the page, a Shane LeBeau, of Lyons, claimed in social media profiles to work as a custodian at USD 418. The school district has confirmed that he is not an employee or recent employee.

In this case, money did not exchange hands. Though that is little consolation to those who gave him their personal information. Unfortunately, law enforcements’ hands are tied without monetary loss. Lyons Police Department personnel stated that while many had come forward about the incident, none had lost funds.

However, names, addresses and phone numbers were among the information given to LeBeau. McPherson Police Administrative Captain/Public Information Officer Mark Brinck stated that this kind of information can often be sold to a third party such as telemarketers and data brokers. It isn’t known if that was the intent of this particular situation.

For those involved Brinck suggests visiting the Federal Trade Commission website and filing a complaint as a consumer as well as possible identity fraud. This will allow the commission to track the situation and if anything more occurs or if the scenario is similar to others, it can be traced.

This holiday season be aware of what is out there and be safe.

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