SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (KUOO) – The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office is alerting the public to a scam in which thieves try to convince people they have won a large cash prize and a car from Publisher’s Clearing House.
According to our news partner KUOO Radio, the supposed winner is told to purchase electronic devices to allow secure communication.
The victims are then told to wire money through local businesses to different recipients to pay for taxes on the prize and storage of the car.
In some cases, victims have even mailed cash to the thieves.
Authorities say some of the transactions were able to be stopped but the thieves still got away with thousands of dollars.
They say if you get an offer, a call, mailing, and so on that you’re skeptical about, you should contact law enforcement and ask if it’s legitimate.
Retailers that handle money transfers are being asked to watch for the scams and report them to local law enforcement immediately.
Retailers are also asked that if you recognize a customer is being scammed to try to convince them not to transfer the money.
Authorities say if you are asked to send money to someone, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you sending money for something a telemarketer sold you?
If yes, contact your bank and tell them to stop the transaction. It’s Illegal for telemarketers to take money transfer payments from people in the U.S. for something they’re selling.
- Are you sending money to:
- The IRS or another government agency?
- Return an overpayment?
- Send escrow money to rent an apartment or buy a car, a puppy or anything else?
- Claim an inheritance or prize?
- Get a guaranteed credit card or loan
- Get a job offer or become a mystery shopper?’
- A friend or relative who claims they need help?
- Anyone else you don’t know who tells you to wire them money?
If yes, stop. Don’t send any money, it’s a scam and someone is trying to steal your money.
Talk to someone you trust about the scam. If you already sent the money, ask your bank to stop your transfer right away.
Ask if you can get your money back. Once your money has been picked up on the other end, which can happen quickly, you can only get a refund some of the time.
Fraudulent transactions may result in the loss of your money with no recourse.
Note: Original reporting don by KUOO Radio