Oklahoma City, Okla. - An Oklahoma couple went from thinking they had won the lottery and a new car to losing $20,000.
The Attorney General's Office says a scammer told the couple they had won the lottery and a new car, but said they needed to pay the taxes and fees for the prizes up front.
The couple wound up paying the scammer $20,000.
Elderly people are often victims of scams, so if you have parents or grandparents who are older, it would be a good idea to warn them about the common tactics used by scammers.
The Attorney General's office has some helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim of a telephone scam:
• Legitimate lottery or sweepstakes organizations do not ask for money up front before awarding prizes;
• It is a violation of federal law to participate in a foreign lottery by phone or mail. No legitimate foreign lottery organization will solicit U.S. consumers in this way;
• Try to verify the caller’s identity as well as the company they represent;
• Don’t provide personal or financial information unless you have initiated the call to a verified reputable person, business or government entity;
• Never send money through a wire transfer or other means unless you are sending to a close friend or family member;
• Don’t feel pressured to give information or send money quickly.
One of the best ways to fight these scams and prevent others from becoming victims is to report such calls to local authorities and the AG’s Office immediately.
The Public Protection Unit protects vulnerable consumers from fraudulent, unfair or deceptive business practices and can provide conciliation services to help resolve complaints against businesses.
If you have received one of these calls or have a question about a possible scam, contact the AG’s Public Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029 or file a complaint online at www.oag.ok.gov.