NEWTON, Ala. (WDHN) — Newton Police are warning people of a new scam that tell people that they have won the lottery or The Publisher’s Clearing House, but instead of winning any money people are losing money out of their wallet and their retirement.
Police have seen an uptick in the number of calls they are receiving, but the calls have to do with a new phone scam.
Someone first receives a call and they are told they have won contests such as The Publisher’s Clearing House or the lottery, however, to get these funds they are asked to send them an undisclosed amount of money.
“What we are going to need you to do is send so much money for the tax,” Newton Police Chief, Frankey Peterman Sr. said. “So much money for the fees and our senior citizens are sending them as much as $25,000.”
The scammers are trying to get money from people in the form of cash, but they also accept cards.
Police say the scammers are asking their victims not to tell anyone they’ve won, something Chief Peterman says should raise red flags.
“The problem is they are taking our senior citizens’ hard-earned money. Their retirement,” Peterman said.
Peterman says the amount they have seen sent to scammers recently ranges anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000. In one instance, a woman filled a shoebox with $10,000 dollars inside and sent it to the scammers.
Newton police have seen these scams target the senior citizens in their area.
“Their home a little bit more and that they’re dialing those numbers, but I don’t know how they are getting those numbers,” Peterman said.
The Federal Trade Commission monitors these scams, but Chief Peterman says they are difficult to prosecute because the scammers make it hard to find them,
Newton police say that they are attacking this issue by sending out a newsletter to the community and speaking with their elderly population and encouraging people to do one thing if they receive one of these calls.
“Hang up,” Peterman said.
And if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
Chief Peterman says some people have received their money back from the scam but others have not and do not send cash because once you send it, it is gone.