Voice of the consumer: 'You've won' can be start of big trouble

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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.

We see scams all over the board, but there are two common themes that I hear about: you’ve won something or you’re in trouble if you don’t do something. I heard from viewers about each of these schemes this week.

To start, one man called me after he had trouble getting a hold of customer service agents to talk about his Amazon account. He Googled a phone number and it ended up being scammers.

“I called (what he thought was) Amazon and they started telling me that I had to go get a prepaid card and put $150 and that way they can send the money onto my card,” said Lawerence. “I told them that’s not going to happen.”

It sounded legit because they already had some of his account information.

“They already had my email, everything, my last four digits of my bank card,” said Lawerence. “He wanted me to go to Walgreens and get a prepaid card and put $150 on it and they can transfer the money that they owe me onto that card.”

Thankfully, Lawerence knew it was a scam when they asked him to put money on a gift card. He didn’t give them any money. He tried calling another number and got scammers again. So that’s when he reached out to me.

“I’ve been trying to get a hold of them and this is where I keep getting a hold of these scammers,” said Lawerence. “It irritated me what happened.”

I gave him the actual customer service number so he could reach out to Amazon to check on his account. If you are trying to get a hold of a company, I recommend going to their legitimate website, check the URL very carefully to make sure you’re at the right place. Then find the customer service number that’s listed on the actual website, versus calling numbers that show up when you do an internet search.

The second caller I heard from was a lucky millionaire winner. Luckily, Marilyn has heard of the lottery scam and didn’t fall for it. But when she first got a letter in the mail, it caught her off-guard for a moment.

“It says Mega Lottery Picker 2019, drawing held on June 5. In red, it says, ‘$4,500,000 United States dollars,’” said Marilyn. She called the number listed on the letter and talked with someone who gave her directions about what to do next.

“I had to call Bank of Spain and talk to the bank manager at 9 a.m. and they gave me that phone number,” said Marilyn. “It’s the final award notice, too.”

She figured it was a scam and says they were probably fishing for money. Many times the scammers will tell you that you need to pay in order to get your winnings.

“I figured I didn’t win to tell you the truth. I called my son and he said, ‘Don’t do anything,’” said Marilyn.

You can always report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at
ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-382-4357.

If you can help others spot scams, we are looking for volunteers for our Call for Action team. You can reach out to us at 719-457-8211 if you’re interested.

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