“Oh my God, the man was extremely deceiving!” These were the words of a Colorado woman who received a scam call last Thursday.
The woman reported a call she got to the Colorado Springs Police Department from a certain James Smith of the Publisher’s Clearing House. The phone number was 516-833-3593 and in her report, the victim mentioned James inquired as to why she did not show up to claim her winnings. She supposedly got picked in a drawing based on the last four digits of her Social Security number and was notified through mail about it a good three weeks ago. Confused, she sorted through her mail and indeed, there was that very authentic-looking mail with the PCH’s logo right on top and dated as James said. It did say she won $1 million and the money would be delivered by the Prize Patrol. Although she was skeptical at first, somehow, she was influenced into believing the call was legit. Besides, James never asked for CC or upfront payments.
The victim was then advised to prepare valid identification while James updated his system on her winnings and would call back after an hour. But only after a few minutes, she got another call. This time, it was James’ supervisor, Derrick. He apologized and said James did a little mistake. The victim would not be able to claim her winnings anymore because the time had elapsed and it was forfeited. As expected, the victim was disappointed and asked if there was anything she could do to still get the money. That was what the culprits were counting on. The victim was then told she could send some “monetary” gift to bribe the auditing officer and cover up for her mistake of not claiming the prize prior to the call. She agreed and sent $200. After two hours, she got another call about having to send another $200. At the end of the week, the victim sent a total of $1000 to the scammers before she realized it was a scam and there was no prize at all.
The caller is already under investigation and the police are hoping to resolve this case and catch the scammer.
The Colorado Springs Police Department is reminding everybody to be cautious about anonymous phone calls and never give out any personal information to a stranger. If the caller claimed to represent your bank or any financial institution and you find it suspicious, politely end the call and call the company directly.