DPD: Beware of sweepstakes scams

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) – The Darlington Police Department wants to remind the public to be on the lookout for possible scams that may be targeting the elderly.

Capt. Danny Watson with the Darlington Police Department said officers at the DPD as well as other local agencies have recently received complaints about a sweepstakes program targeting the elderly.

According to Watson, the caller will attempt to convince the victim they have won a large amount of money but they have to pay a fee in order to not have to pay taxes on the money.

The victim will be asked to go to a Western Union to send that money out of the country and the scammers will often give the victim a "cover story" to use for anyone who would take them to send the money.

Criminals tried a similar scam on 79-year-old Dorothy Thomas, but she picked up on it  before thieves could get any of her money and told them she wasn't having it.

"I told them they can talk my lawyer about it, and you know even if you don't say your lawyer I tell them I have 8 children they can talk to one of them about it," Thomas said.

Officers are urging the public to be aware of the scam and never to send money to someone you don't know. If the scammers continue to call after they have been told not to, call a local law enforcement agency.

"The danger of being scammed is out there and like I said the biggest and best thing to remember is if it sounds too good to be true it generally is," said Watson.

Anyone receiving a check in the mail involving a similar type of situation where the victim is asked to cash the check and send them the money should also contact local law enforcement.

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All rights reserved.