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Residents warned of new scams in area
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Newton County Sheriff's investigators want citizens to be on the lookout for new scams which have appeared in inboxes and mailboxes around the county.

NCSO Lt. Bill Watterson recently received an e-mail asking for his help to ensure the Hong Kong government did not seize $35,520,000 left in a savings account by a German merchant named Mathew Schneider who died five years ago. The e-mail stated the money would soon be seized by the government which would use it to purchase arms and ammunitions for the military.

For claiming he is Schneider's next of kin, the e-mail promised Watterson 35 percent, or $12,432,000, of the money left in the bank.

While the e-mail just asks for a reply, Watterson said the entire process was a scam that would eventually ask for money or the recipients' private information which could lead to identity theft.

"You should never send your information out over the Internet to people you don't know," Watterson said.

A mail scam, also recently reported to NCSO Investigator Sharron Stewart, asked the victims to cash an enclosed $2,450 check so they could then later receive their lottery winnings of $46,500. The letter states the "winner" of the North American Utilities lottery was selected from a database of 149,000 telephone numbers and utility bills.

Stewart said the enclosed check for $2,450 would probably be taken by the bank and only later, as it was being processed, would it come back as a fake. The money received from the check is supposed to be sent back to Myoco Financial Services for lawyer charges related to winning the lottery, Stewart said.

"And when the check comes back as bad, the victim will be out the $2,000 if they mail the money in," Stewart said. "And the banks should not be responsible. People need to use common sense. The odds of winning a lottery you enter are astronomical, so what are the odds of winning a lottery you never actually entered? Not very good."

A quick Web search of Myoco Financial Services by Stewart revealed a host of complaints about the scam. At least two people have reported the scam to the NCSO.

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