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New Twist On Old Scam

By: KKTV/Mecca Rayne
By: KKTV/Mecca Rayne

The caller provided names and badge numbers, adding an air of legitimacy to what turned out to be a scam.
No matter how real a call may sound, according to Federal Trade Commission, legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to hand over money in order to collect your prize.

It's an old scam with a new twist: this time the crook asks you to meet in person to claim your "prize."

A Springs woman found herself a target of this latest scam.

"He said he was calling from Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes, and that I'd won $2.6 million and a Mercedes-Benz," the woman, who wishes to remain nameless, recalled.

There weren't any of the usual red flags: the caller never asked for a credit card, provided the name of the UPS driver who would drop off the car, rattled off a badge number. But there was one condition.

She would need to run by Walgreens, he said, and buy a prepaid Visa card to pay 1 percent tax on the prize.

"Get in your car right now and I'll meet you there," she recalled him saying. "I'll tell you how to get this special card that will let you pay taxes, then claim your prize."

The caller assured her that he would then have a lawyer meet with her to help her deposit it. He even provided her name and badge number.

The woman knew the scenario was too good to be true. Instead of driving to meet him, she got on the phone and called Publisher's Clearing House. They told her that if she were ever one of their winners, they would show up at her door like they do in the commercials. No one associated with the company would ever notify her by phone or email.

After hearing her story, 11 News reporter Mecca Rayne decided to call the scammer back. She says it took him a few minutes, but he eventually admitted it was a scam--and his tone changed.

"You know I can go over there and shoot her, right?" he told Rayne.

11 News contacted police immediately after that.

If you ever get a call similar to the one in this story, police say to never engage or meet with the person on the other end, no matter what they tell you. The Federal Trade Commission says legitimate sweepstakes don't require you to hand out money to win. If you do have to pay to receive your prize--then it's not a prize at all.


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