I can’t believe it! After 45 years of my parents filling out the sweepstakes entry forms and I finally won! $1.5 million !!
Oh wait, SCAM!!
I have to admit, there was a part of me that didn’t want to hang up too quickly in case it was true; although I haven’t filled out an entry form in over 30 years.
So, I just kept him talking and agreed with him and wrote down the info, occasionally laughing at the silly things he was suggesting (his English was hard to understand at times.) Don kept telling me to hang up but I was entertained and didn’t have anything else to do. I was careful not to give him my name, address or anything else he could use to further convince me that it was real. He was very cautious to tell me that I should never give out bank account numbers or other personal information over the phone. He was very polite and friendly and professional. He had me write down his name (the Prize Director), my prize confirmation number and winning ticket number. He asked me if I wanted the presentation to be public (cameras and publicity) or private. I opted for privacy. He told me that he would come with the prize patrol, and FBI agents, to our house. I hadn’t given him my address. I was waiting for him to ask to confirm it but he never did. If he did come up with my address I think that would have made me think it might be real but I think it would also be creepy; still knowing that I had not entered the contest.
He told me how much in taxes that I’d have to pay to the Federal government: $15,000. Then he told me I’d need to first “register” my prize (here it comes) by going to a 7-Eleven or Walgreens and fill out a “registration card” that would cost $299. I started laughing again and he asked “Why?” I told him because this is a hoax and I was just waiting to hear how much he was going to try to get out of me. He assured me that it is not a hoax and that he could understand why I might think that. This guy must be new at this. If he had more experience I think he would have given up at my first chuckle or deadpan “uh huh”. It got funnier though. He asked to let him know when I was in the car ready to go. He wanted me to stay on the line as I drove. I brought up the fact that it is against the law to talk on a cell phone while driving. He assured me that I could lay the phone down while driving but that he would be there listening in case I had any questions along the way. “Can’t you just give me the information I’ll need to fill out the registration card now?” I asked. He said he couldn’t. I told him I didn’t have that many minutes on my cell so I’d have to call him when I got there.
By now I’m thinking like a detective. Maybe I can set him up? So I told him that I can’t walk very well so my husband will have to come with me and he will call him from Walgreens when he picks up the “registration card”. I think he suspected something at this point because he told me to call him from the parking lot when I got there. I’m guessing that, if he got me to send $299, he’d then try to get me to send the $15k for taxes.
He gave me 2 phone numbers; the 2nd one has other reports of the same scam: 1-876-374-9794 and 1-876-585-1963
To report the phone fraud I called the phone company who told me to call the county sheriff who suggested I call the Attorney General who suggested I call the local police. :-) It’s a slow day – this is what retirees do for entertainment!
The Attorney General’s office complimented me on how I handled it and said I would make a good detective. I asked how much that job pays. He said, “I’m not sure. I’m a volunteer.” hahaha He also told me that he wished someone could respond fast enough to catch this person but the reality is that they cannot. The AG’s office just investigates. He also said that “once you wire the money to the person, it is untraceable.” He was glad that I didn’t fall for the scam because many people do and there’s no way to get the money back or find out who it was wired to.
Since it is so hard to catch these thieves maybe we can humiliate them by not being so gullible. If it sounds too good to be true, it IS! Doubt first!
Publisher’s Clearinghouse does not require a fee to win their prizes and wants to hear about this type of scam. Email them at email@example.com
Read this from PCH: http://info.pch.com/consumer-information/fraud-protection