If you have a smart phone, perhaps you are like us; you’re getting an array of phone calls from all over the United States and North America from Telemarketing con artists. They are creative, coming up with new tricks every day to scam unsuspecting Transylvania residents. The callers prey on anyone who answers a phone, but especially seniors and others who have responded to phony sweepstakes or other scams before.
We will spend the next few weeks on examples of scams we know have been successful for fraudulent telemarketers give you an idea of the tricks they play.
- Counterfeit Checks from phony lottery and Sweepstakes companies
You receive a check for $2,000 to $5,000 that appears to be from an International Lottery.Then you receive a phone call from overseas saying that you have won a million- dollar lottery or sweepstakes prize in Canada, Australia or some other country. The scammer tells you that the check was sent to cover fees, taxes or insurance on the award. You are instructed to deposit the check and then wire the money to pay those fees. Ultimately your bank determines that the check is counterfeit, but you have already wired money to the overseas scammers—money that came out of your own funds.
A common variation of this scam involves a counterfeit check and a cover letter announcing that you have won an award. The letter provides a toll-free number and invites you to call for further instructions. When you call, the scam proceeds as described above: you are instructed to deposit the check and then wire the money to cover fees, insurance and taxes on the award. But the check is counterfeit and the scammer keeps the money that you send.
- International Lotteries
A caller offers to enroll you in the best overseas lottery opportunity each week. As a convenience to you, the caller proposes to charge the cost of this service to your credit card or checking account. You are typically charged $10 to $100 a week for months. Occasionally, the scammer may offer a special opportunity on a sure bet lottery package for $5,000 – $10,000. The scammer will pay out small sums in “winnings” from time to time to keep you interested, but the scammer is not really enrolling you in any lotteries.
The North Carolina Department of Justice can help; call toll free at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM
Source: NC Department of Justice