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Scam in Central Louisiana asks for fees to collect ‘prizes’

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Written by
Richard Sharkey
rsharkey@thetowntalk.com

 

 

 

If someone calls and tells you that you won $1.1 million and a car, don’t do anything rash, such as pay a “processing fee” to get your supposed prizes.

The Better Business Bureau is warning about such a scam that is now going around the Alexandria and Shreveport areas.

An Alexandria man in his 80s got a call recently and was told that he won $1.1 million and a new car, but that he would have to pay a processing fee of $550. When the man said he couldn’t pay $550, he was asked to pay $250.

The man told The Town Talk that he realized it was a scam and said he reported it to the Better Business Bureau and to the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office. He said the scam apparently often targets elderly people.

The scam artists sometimes have been a little more greedy in the Shreveport area, often claiming a person has won $2 million and a new Mercedes, and asking for an $830 processing fee, said Andy Fisher, president of the BBB that serves Central Louisiana and the Ark-La-Tex area.

A caller asked one intended victim to load a pre-paid credit card at Walmart and send it in to get his $2 million and new Mercedes, Fisher said. That caller also realized it was a scam but played along for a while to see how the con would play out. The con artist offered to let the supposed prize winner pay a lesser amount.

Fisher said the scam artists use differing amounts of money supposedly won by a person, and ask for differing amounts of fees, apparently depending on how much they think they can get in talking to a particular target.

Fisher said the main advice he can give is not to give any money up front — wait until the prize is delivered, if there really is a prize, before paying any fee.

“If you won $1.5 million or $2 million or whatever it is, they could take the fees out of your winnings,” Fisher said.

Some scam artists will ask for a low amount of money, such as $19.99, as a fee for someone to claim a prize, because some people might think that’s a low price to pay in order to get a nice prize.

“If they (scammers) get enough $19.99s, then they’ve done pretty well,” Fisher said.

He also warned of ongoing scams involving home repairs. He said the public should be suspicious of anyone showing up at their house uninvited and offering to do home repairs.

People considering hiring someone to do home repairs can contact the BBB to find out if the contractor is reputable.

Fisher advised people to heed the longtime adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

People suspicious that someone is trying to scam them are asked to contact the Alexandria office of the Better Business Bureau at (318) 473-4494.

For consumer information, including ways to avoid becoming a scam victim, visit the BBB website at www.alexandria-la.bbb.org.

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Written by demon53

August 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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