Telephone sweepstakes scam alert in OC

(March 8, 2013) The Ocean City Police Department is investigating a series of telephone scams involving fraudulent sweepstakes.

Police said the scam is perpetrated by a telephone caller who advises the victim that he or she has won a sweepstakes. The victim is told that to receive the large sweepstakes prize he or she must go to a convenience store or drug store and purchase a Green Dot Money Pac Reload Card for a certain amount of money usually between $200 and $500.

Once the victim has purchased the card, he or she is instructed to contact the scammer who is pretending to be a sweepstakes representative who will process the winning claim. The victim is asked to provide the Green Dot Money Pac Reload Card information over the telephone as a means of verification the victim has actually completed the task.

The result of this is that the scammer will use the information provided by the victim to redeem the value of the card.

The Ocean City Police Department is reminding citizens that legitimate sweepstakes require that you enter to win. If you did not enter a sweepstakes, you should not be named as a winner. Legitimate sweepstakes will not ask you for a “processing fee” and federal and state taxes are usually deducted from the sum total of the winning amount prior to the sweepstakes winner receiving the final payout.

Citizens should never provide personal information including social security numbers, birth dates, passwords or home addresses to unknown “businesses or individuals. Also, police said people should never give out banking information or credit card account numbers over the phone to persons or businesses that cannot be verified as legitimate.

Criminals can take advantage of people when they are at their most vulnerable. By practicing a few easy proactive measures and reporting these types of scams, citizens can make it tough for criminals to succeed.

Police also said never make on-line or telephone transactions with credit cards that are directly linked to a checking/

savings or money market accounts. In addition, bank and credit card accounts should be routinely monitored for suspicious and unauthorized transactions.

Persons who feel someone has attempted to scam them, believe they have been victims of a scam or recognize unauthorized activity on their financial accounts should contact their financial institutions and report the issue. If you are the victim of a theft, report the theft to your local law enforcement agency.

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