A disabled maintenance worker from Missouri said thieves tricked her into giving them $3,000 after they told her she won two multimillion-dollar sweepstakes prizes, Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is reporting.
The woman is just among the latest victims of sweepstakes scams that have cheated consumers nationwide out of millions of dollars in recent years, BBB warns.
Kim States, BBB President, said the tragic case illustrates what can happen when people put too much trust in strangers.
“All of us dream about winning the lottery or a sweepstakes prize,” States said. “But in the vast majority of cases, these prize notifications are nothing more than attempts to steal money from unsuspecting consumers.”
In addition to losing $3,000 in the sweepstakes scams, the Missouri woman said she is struggling to pay off a $1,300 cell phone bill – most of that resulting from charges for nearly 100 phone calls from the Jamaica-based thief. During one three-day period in late June the scammer called her 66 times.
The woman, who took early disability retirement two years ago from the University City school district, said she initially ignored calls to her cell and home phones telling her that she was winner of a $7 million sweepstakes.
Eventually, she spoke to a man who convinced her that she had won the prize. Over the next several weeks, the woman sent her mentally disabled daughter to area supermarkets in order to send cash via (more…)