Posted by Terry Alexander - email
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - At least three Richmond residents have received phone calls from a Jamaican area code, congratulating them on winning the lottery and claiming to be form the Better Business Bureau. Fortunately in this case, the consumers contacted did not fall for the scam. They were suspicious enough to hang up and report the calls.
"Its very easy to do this, this offshore thing, with the internet and cell phones, you can do it from anywhere," said Tom Gallagher, President of the BBB. "I can tell you that if you send them any money, you'll never see it back."
Residents were contacted over the phone by people telling the recipient they had won $3.8 million. They said it was a sweepstakes and that they were doing it in conjunction with the BBB. The recipient were told in order to get their winnings they would have to pay a certain amount of money in advance to cover transfer fees and taxes.
In these cases, about 380 dollars. The Better Business Bureau president says in these tough economic times, cons like this may be on the rise. And consumers need to protect themselves.
"Whenever anyone calls you and tells you you've won something, hang up. Don't bother talking to them, they're pros and professionals. Its not going to cost you any money to get your prize anytime you win anything, you don't have to pay any money," said Gallagher.
The BBB has nothing to do with lotteries and would never call you.