PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The FBI is warning about a new scam that says the receiver has won $75,000 for shopping at certain stores.
Marry Pegg found a letter in her Brighton Heights mailbox that said she won the “North American Consumer Promotion Draw” worth $75,000.
The letter said the prize was backed by Walmart, Sears, Home Depot and other stores.
She thought it was a scam, and Bob Jones — an FBI special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh office — said Pegg’s skepticism was well-founded.
“We see fraud of this type every day,” SAC Jones said.
SAC Jones said the targets are often retirees.
“Seniors usually have a nice nest egg put away,” SAC Jones said. “So they have more money available and seniors are more polite. They are more willing to talk to someone on the telephone or the internet.”
In this case, the letter contained a $1,200 check, which gave Pegg pause.
“The check looks like a valid check,” Pegg said.
But she said the check was not valid enough to rush off to the bank to cash it.
“I’ve heard about these things before. You go to the bank, cash the check. Then a little bit later, they call you up and say it’s no good after you send these other people the thousand dollars. You have to pay them back.”
SAC Jones said people fall for these types of scams everyday to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
He said seniors who fall victim to the crime usually keep it to themselves.
“Often times, they are embarrassed. They don’t want their children to think they can’t take care of themselves,” SAC Jones said.
SAC Jones said if you do fall for a scam, tell someone quickly.
He also said while getting the money back is unlikely, the chances are better if the report comes quickly.