Voice of the consumer: Winning 'jackpot' could have been costly

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - 11 News lead Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

Can you imagine what you would do if you won the lottery?

Well, one viewer thought he hit the jackpot this week, only to find out it was a big scam. Leonard reached out to me to help get the word out after he fell for this one.

I’ve told you about the lottery scam before and we’re constantly seeing different variations of the scheme. It started when Leonard got a phone call.

“They called me from several different numbers,” said Leonard. “They asked me for my address and told me an agent would come by and, ‘Do I want to be known on TV?’ I said, ‘No.’”

The caller asked Leonard for his address so they could send him a check. He gave it to them and, sure enough, a check arrived in the mail.

“I got in the mail a sweepstakes that came from New York and I was all excited and I thought I won some money,” said Leonard.

The check he got in the mail was for $4,900. He also got a letter with it explaining that he had won $350,000. But, to get the giant jackpot, he needed to pay $4,900 in taxes, insurance, shipping and handling for his winnings.

The crooks wanted Leonard to deposit the check into his account and then pay them back the fees for winning. Once Leonard paid the thieves, his check would bounce and he would be out thousands of dollars.

“I went to the bank, Wells Fargo bank and I went to go cash it and they told me it was a fraudulent check and they took a copy of it,” said Leonard. “The check is worth $4,900. They told me it was fraudulent, the check isn’t any good.”

I’m so thankful the bank teller asked Leonard about the check. When they heard his story, they knew it was a scam.

“It kind of broke my heart because I was all excited,” said Leonard. “It’s very nerve-wrecking. It’s very frustrating.”

If someone is asking you for money to win something, that’s a sign that it’s a scam. Be very careful with your money and your personal information. Run it by a trusted friend or family if you’re wondering if it’s a scam.

Otherwise, you can reach out to our Call for Action team and we can tell you if something is a scam. You can call our volunteers at 719-457-8211. We are looking for volunteers, so if you think you could help others spot scams, give us a call.

If you want to report a scam to the Federal Trade Commission, you can report it at www.FTC.gov/complaint.

“Just be careful, that’s all I can say,” Leonard

Click here to read the original column on gazette.com.