Tuesday, June 05, 2018
Scammers are always looking for new twists and new ways to carry out their schemes, and a Durham resident recently experienced this firsthand. After being convinced that he was a lottery winner, the elderly gentleman was instructed to go to a local jewelry store and purchase a $36,000 Rolex watch. The watch would then be sent to cover the taxes and fees on his winnings. Fortunately in this instance, after the jeweler was alerted by a family member and the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office, the man avoided becoming a victim.Crooks need new ways to get their hands on your money, because some of the old ways are getting harder to use. In recent years they’ve favored prepaid debit cards and gift cards. But merchants (and loved ones) should also be on the lookout for people buying big-ticket items that are out of character… it could be a sign that someone is under the spell of a scammer.Lottery scammers try to use the excitement of “You’ve WON!!” to overwhelm potential victims, so they bypass the skepticism that usually protects us from crooked schemes. Once persuaded that they’ve hit the jackpot, victims can often be convinced to “prepay” taxes or fees the scammer claims must be paid before they can take possession of their multi-million dollar prize. In this instance the prepayment would have been in the form of an expensive watch. But regardless of the payment method that is used, ultimately the prize will be shown to be a fake. And instead of being rich, the victim will be many thousands of dollars poorer.If you think you or someone you know might have been scammed or contacted by a scammer, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.