Local residents lose thousands of dollars to sweepstakes, check scamsTwo elderly St. Louis County residents lost large sums of money recently to internet and phone scams, according to Sgt. Neil Porter with the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.
Two elderly St. Louis County residents lost large sums of money recently to internet and phone scams, according to Sgt. Neil Porter with the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.
In a fake check scam, a 70-year-old resident was sent a $2,300 check to cover a $500 rental fee for a property he had listed on Craigslist. The “renter” from England than asked the victim to send back the $1,800 overage in the form of a cashiers check to a nonexistent address in New York. The initial check sent to the victim subsequently bounced and the victim is now out the entire $2,300.
As part of a sweepstakes scam, a 76-year-old resident was contacted by phone and told that he had won a large lottery prize and to claim it he simply needed to pay the taxes. Despite being warned about the scam, the victim in less than three months sent $42,000 via Western Union to the caller in Jamaica in an effort to claim the nonexistent prize. The caller convinced the victim not to inform his family about the financial transactions so that the lottery check would be a big surprise.
Fake check and sweepstakes scams are among many that crop up occasionally in the area. A listing of common scams and tips on how to recognize and avoid them can be found on the Federal Trade Commission and Minnesota Attorney General’s Office websites, www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts, www.ag.state.mn.us/Consumer/Fraud/Default.asp.