Law enforcement warns of football-related scams

Published 8:39 am Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fall is almost here and so is Ole Miss Rebel football.

Many Rebel out-of-town fans are booking rooms, apartments and homes to bring in family and friends to enjoy football and tailgating in the Grove and Oxford’s nightlife.

Except, when they get to property they rented with luggage in hand, the house or condo doesn’t exist or was never for rent.

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Oxford Police Maj. Jeff McCutchen said over the last week or two, the department has received several reports of online advertisement for fictitious rentals for home game weekends.

“People post ads on websites, advertising property to rent during game weekends,” McCutchen said. “Some of these posts have been fake ads. Whoever is posting to the site, sets it up like a real ad and then asks for money to be wired or a credit card number. The victims don’t find out it’s a scam until after the money has been transferred.”

McCutchen said by getting the word out to the public through PSA announcements on their Twitter and Facebook page, and media attention, he hopes they can educate people before they fall victim to this scam.

Another popular scam around this time of year is for Rebel football tickets. Depending on how well the team does, Oxonians can expect thieves to take advantage of their Rebel adoration.

“It really depends on the demand for tickets,” McCutchen said. “If we experience that type of success as last year, when the SEC play begins, we can expect those incidents to pick up.

Last year, about 16 people fell victim to a scam where a man, posing as an Oxford attorney, met with people on the Square and sold them tickets to the Alabama game for $200. However, he sold them all the same ticket. All 16 discovered they had been scammed when they arrived at the game.

McCutchen suggested that people only deal with people they know or are recommended through friends or using reputable agencies.

“Anytime you are buying over the Internet with people you do not know, you are at risk,” he said. “Check the ads for misspelled words or phrases that are not normal to our language.”

He also warns against people with email addresses from an unknown or uncommon provider.

Lafayette County Chief Deputy Scott Mills said his department doesn’t generally get a lot of reports about ticket scams, but they deal with the rental scams all year long.

“It’s not just when football starts,” he said. “It’s all the time. Even legitimate people renting a place need to be careful. We’ve seen scams where someone rents a place online, sends them a check and tells them they sent too much and asks the person to wire back the overage. The check is fake and the victim is out the amount they wired to the scammer.”

To report a scam of any kind, contact OPD at 662-232-2400 or LCSD at 662-234-6421.