Fake Tyler Perrys running scholarship hustles

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Actor Tyler Perry is not giving away money, he’s not running a scholarship program and he won’t get you an audition.

Perry, an Atlanta-based filmmaker and actor, is the subject of one of those celebrity scams in which thieves try to con people into giving them money by impersonating a famous personality.

Perry recently responded strongly to a couple of scams in his name that were making the rounds on Facebook.

He posted a video telling his followers, “Do not give your information to any of these people. I don’t know who they are, but every day we have to get 10, 20, 30 of these things shut down on Facebook.”

In one of the scam Facebook posts, a bogus Perry offers people half-a-million dollars to “like” one of his posts.

The actor, known for his “Madea” films, also pointed out that while he does help put kids through college, “it’s not something you can request or pay me for.”

He had these words for the imposter trying to con people in his name: “People who do this are some of the lowest in my book. Stop it, devil.”

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On the local front: the Albuquerque Police Department is warning about fraudulent phone calls asking people to donate to a “fallen officer fund.”

The call, from 505-814-7231, is a pitch for $35, $50 or $100, says APD spokesman Simon Drobik. Those who agree to donate are asked for credit card information.

Drobik says the calls are “total BS.”

Also, don’t fall for it if you get a call from “Captain Harris with the New Mexico State Police” and she tells you you need to contact “Officer Reagan Fox” within the next hour and pay him $7,400.

For that matter, hang up immediately on any supposed law enforcement officer who is giving you an ultimatum and demanding money, according to a State Police advisory, issued after several New Mexico residents received these types of calls.

The recipient of the bogus State Police call followed the instructions and called the number given for Officer Fox, who said the person faced bank fraud and drug trafficking charges. The penalty was 10 years in prison and $50,000 n fines, but the matter could be settled out of court for $7,400.

At that point, the recipient clued into the fact that it was a scam and reported it to State Police without losing any money.

“While State Police continues to investigate these crimes, the public’s best defense against these criminals is being aware and not falling for the scam,” spokesman Ray Wilson said in a written statement.

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Here’s a tip from the FBI that might be helpful if you get one of these scary “grandparent scam” calls in which a relative is supposedly locked up in a foreign jail and needs you to come up with bail money.

Of course, these are best handled with a quick and decisive hang-up on your part.

But if you are unable to check on the whereabouts of your loved one to disprove the jail claim, you can do this instead: tell the caller to put your grandchild on the phone. Most likely they won’t comply because it’s a scam.

You can then instruct the caller to ask your loved one a personal question the scammer can’t possible know – the name of a pet, for example or a favorite food.

“Once you find out that the perpetrator can’t answer, it’s fair to conclude this is a scam,” an FBI spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times.

Imposter scams, a category that includes the bogus grandchild calls, were the second most common type of fraud in New Mexico last year, comprising about 15 percent of the total 12,326 fraud reports collected.

Ellen Marks is assistant business editor at the Albuquerque Journal. Contact her at emarks@abqjournal.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210.

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