Spokane County Man Loses Nearly $25,000 In Lottery Scam
SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - Another Spokane County resident has fallen victim to a lottery scam, and this time the 79-year-old man lost nearly $25,000 before realizing he had been duped.
The victim told Crime Check this week that he had received a call May 20th from a man in Mount Vernon, New York who claimed to represent Reader's Digest and Publisher's Clearing House. He told the victim he had won a $360,000 prize, but needed to send money to the Internal Revenue Service to collect the winnings.
The victim gave the caller his credit card information which the suspect used to charge about $16,000 in purchases. The suspect also used the information to access the victim's CD account and withdrew another $8,500.
The sweepstakes/lottery scam is a common fraud generally targeting elderly, and therefore less suspicious, victims. Suspects may use published obituary notices to determine which elderly victims to target, and always tell their "marks" that they have won a large amount of money, but must pay a fee or taxes before the winnings can be disbursed.
The best defense against this type of fraud is to ask yourself if you actually entered a sweepstakes or purchased a lottery ticket to the referenced event. You can't be a winner if you didn't enter.
Since the elderly are the most frequent target, the second best defense is to discuss this type of scam with older parents or neighbors to educate them about the scam and to minimize their risk.
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