Woman lost $100K in sweepstakes scam, police say - abc27 WHTM

Woman lost $100K in sweepstakes scam, police say

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A Lebanon County woman lost $100,000 in a sweepstakes scam that promised her millions of dollars and luxury cars.

The 77-year-old West Cornwall Township woman was duped into thinking she won $11.1 million and a brand new BMW. The scammers told the victim she would get the prizes after she paid taxes, shipping and delivery.

Police said the woman did so through two payment methods. One was through sending packages of cash in the mail.

"$68,000 in two days in two shipments. It's almost unbelievable," said Cornwall Police Chief Bruce Harris.

Police said the woman also used Green Dot MoneyPak cards, which are used for wiring money. There is a scam warning right on the card, but police said the woman wired money that way over the course of about 10 months.

In all, she forked over more than $100,000. Police said what was more troubling was that the woman stopped by the police station last summer.

"She reported that she thought she had been scammed, and at that point she was out a little over $5,000," said Harris. "We told her it was a scam."

Police said scammers can be very convincing.

"The callers are so skilled that they just play on the sympathies of people, especially older people," said Harris. "You're older but if you leave that to your kids and grand kids, they'll be set."

Police said all people can do is educate elderly loved ones. Let them know that the green cards are a red flag, as is a sweepstakes you've never heard of.

"We're just not sure what more to tell people or what more to say to get the message across that these scammers are out there. You know you can't win a contest that you don't enter," said Harris.

For more information on how to recognize scams, there is a theft and fraud seminar on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Cornwall United Methodist Church.

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