RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A warning from the Better Business Bureau. It says crooks are posing as BBB representatives and calling people in the area telling them that they've won a sweepstakes. The Richmond Better Business Bureau gets about 300 calls everyday, mostly people checking out a business.
Recently there's been a different kind of call, consumers actually alerting the organization that crooks are misusing its name. Tom Gallagher, President of the Richmond Chapter says the fraudulent calls claim you've won a sweepstakes.
"The prizes were $550,000 down to $250,000 plus a Mercedes. It's a scam, the BBB does not do anything like this at all," Gallagher told us.
If you get one of these calls the BBB says don't play detective. It says you should hang up and report it to them.
"These people are pros, they do it for a living they know how to get money out of you and they will do that," Gallagher said. He says several people in the Richmond area have gotten the calls.
Eventually, the caller wants you to wire $99 to Alabama in order to claim the phony sweepstakes. It's not the first time crooks have tried to misuse the BBB's good name and Gallagher says it probably won't be the last. The problem, Gallagher says most of the calls originate from overseas, making it all most impossible to catch the criminals. The organization's main concern is preventing the public from taking the bait.
"I do know that people fall for it. If they didn't fall for it, these guys wouldn't be making these phone calls," he said.
So far, no reports of anyone in the area falling for the deception -- Gallagher hopes it stays that way. There are also reports of consumers in Massachusetts getting the same call. For more on the Sweepstakes deception visit the BBB by clicking here.