Sheriff Patrick Ray says if you receive any phone calls, text messages, or emails indicating you have won a prize and need to send money ... don't do it!
A few persons in DeKalb County have already fallen victim to the scams. "We've had reports here of some people losing a few hundred dollars. Others here have lost thousands of dollars. We're asking everyone to beware of it," said Sheriff Ray.
According to Sheriff Ray, the scammer will call and tell the victims that they have won the lottery or the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. "The scammer tells them the only thing they have to do to receive their winnings is to pay taxes on it. The scammer tells how much the taxes are and then asks the victims to go to Walmart or some other place to purchase a green dot money pack card, to put the amount of the taxes owed on that card, return home, telephone the scammer and to give him the number on the back of that card. But by doing so, Sheriff Ray said the scammer is able to go on line and access cash from the victims' card. The scammer tells the victims that he will process their order to get them their winnings but after a few hours or days, the scammer usually calls again to tell the victims that the order can't be processed because more money is owed the IRS for taxes. The scammer instructs the victims to go back to Walmart and get another green dot money pack card, put on the card the amount still owed, and then call the scammer again to give him the number off the card. Sheriff Ray said the scammer will continue calling the victims to repeat this process until the victims no longer send money. After the money stops coming, the scammer will then become rude, profane, and threatening to the victims over the phone. The scammer often threatens to obtain warrants against the victims for not paying the taxes. Sheriff Ray said the threats are meant to make the victims feel obligated to put more money on the card.