The Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department has seen an increased number of complaints and advisories about a phone lottery scam targeting seniors.
The scammers either e-mail or call the citizen saying they have won hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in a lottery or sweepstakes, but ask for the citizen to wire money to cover costs for taxes or handling fees. If the money is wired through Western Union, the victim will never see that money again. If it is transferred directly from a citizen’s bank account or paid via credit card, the scammer can use that information to steal thousands of dollars from the victim.
According to some reports, the scammers repeatedly call the consumers back with false claims the money was not received or that they need extra money sent for another step to wire the “won” money.
Originating in Jamaica, the callers often use an 876 area code. However, Internet technology allows the scammers to disguise their area codes so it looks like they’re calling from a local area.
“Please be aware if you did not enter into a sweepstakes and someone indicates something that is too good to be true, this is a possible scam at your doorstep,” said Detective Sgt. Carl Artz with the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department.
People who feel they have been the victims of a scam should call their local police or the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department at 715-258-4466.