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Local residents targeted by scams
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Citizens of Newton County have recently been bombarded with variety scam e-mails designed to sucker them out of their hard earned cash.

According to Newton County Sheriff's Lt. Bill Watterson, a man recently lost $70,000 after falling prey to a "Nigeria Scam."

In the scam, people in the U.S. are e-mailed from someone in Abidjan, Africa, who claims they have inherited $8.5 million, but they are having a hard time distributing the money. So in the e-mail, the sender simply asks for assistance in returning the money to the U.S. so it can be dispersed to charities and churches, Watterson said.

To get the money released from the Abidjan government, legal fees must be paid by the scam's victim.

"They pray on the victim's morals," Watterson said. "This particular victim probably spent all of his life's savings and finical holdings trying to help people that don't exist. I always tell people if it is too good to be true, then it is probably a fake."

The NCSO has also received reports of a "Hitman with a Heart" scam being sent to Newton residents. In this scam, a supposed hitman e-mails victims that he has been hired to kill them, but because he is such a nice guy, he will call the hit off for a small fee.

Watterson said the scam had no validity and had been traced back to India, Gastonia and Africa. Somehow the suspects were able to highjack e-mails addresses from AT&T and BellSouth.

If you have been a victim of either these or other scams, Watterson said to call the Newton County Sheriff's Office at (678) 625-1403. Tips may also be given anonymously at (678) 625-5007 or on their Web site