Hawkins police hit with rash of new scam reports in June

Jeff Bobo • Jul 3, 2020 at 5:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — There were several new scams reported in Hawkins County during June including one by a Church Hill mother who was notified by telephone Tuesday that her son had won the “MAG-A-Million” sweepstakes.

The 78-year-old woman received a call from a man identifying himself as Ray Catena (628-239-8754) from MAG-A-Million, which he said is an international company affiliated with Readers Digest.

The mother told Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Natalee Long that Catena said her 54-year-old son’s information had been received by the sweepstakes from a purchase he made at Walmart in 2017, and he would receive a certified check via Fed Ex for $1.3 million on July 1, as well as a 2020 Mercedes Concept.

The only requirement was that her son would have to pre-pay the “registration fee” as well as the 5% income tax for the Mercedes, which would total $1,750.

Catena then tried to retrieve personal information from the mother including her banking data. She reportedly hung up without providing any personal information and contacted the HCSO.

Unfortunately not every would-be victim walked away unscathed last month.

Bogus Craigslist rental

Church Hill Police Department Chief Chad Mosley told the Times News Tuesday that a local couple had fallen victim last week to a bogus online house rental scam to the tune of $1,400.

Mosley said the couple responded to a Craigslist ad for a rental house in Church Hill, and all communication between the couple and the scammer was completed online.

After the $1,400 deposit was transferred, the couple attempted to move into the house and discovered it had recently been purchased. Mosley said the funds were sent through the online Cash App website, and the couple has contacted Cash App in an attempt to stop payment.

Credit score recovery scam

A 59-year-old Rogersville man told HCSO Cpl. Michael Godsey on June 11 that he sought a $9,000 loan for kitchen renovations from Max Cell Loan and was told the company would have to improve his credit score first for a fee of $500.

The victim stated that the company doubled his bill on two separate credit cards to $996 on each, and sent him six different eBay gift cards asking that he put funds on them.

The total amount drained from the victim’s accounts was reported at $3,000, and he has yet to receive the loan for his kitchen renovation.

Medical payment identity theft

A 30-year-old Rogersville woman told HCSO Deputy Hunter Lamons on June 11 that she was awakened at 4 a.m. by a credit alert from Credit Karma.

Upon checking her accounts, the woman discovered that medical bills totaling $5,919 had been charged to her credit card in five separate payments — all from Pennsylvania.

The woman said she hadn’t been to Pennsylvania since she was a child and had no idea why these doctor bills were on her credit. She called the medical offices, but they couldn’t tell her where the charges came from — just the amounts.

Bogus bail bond scam

A 75-year-old Rogersville man told HCSO Deputy Ronald Jarnigan on June 15 that he had received a call from a man identifying himself as Robert Green (678-782-9303) who stated that the man’s grandson, whom he identified by name, was in jail.

Green told the victim it would cost $7,500 to bail his grandson out of jail, and Green would be back in touch with the victim to make arrangements with a bail bondsman in the area.

The victim then contacted his grandson, discovered that he wasn’t in jail, and reported the attempted scam to the HCSO.

Bogus medical group check

A 33-year-old Rogersville woman told Deputy Jarnigan on June 15 that she had received a check in the mail from Physicians Medical Group of San Jose Inc. in the amount of $2,600.

The woman then called the company, which told her that the check was a scam and not to cash it.

She then contacted the HCSO, which took her report and logged the bogus check into evidence.

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