FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- “You have won 1.5 million bucks!” That's the amazing news an 83-year old Flagstaff woman received in a phone call from a man who said he was with the office of the Mega Millions lottery.
The woman received the call Monday morning. The caller identified himself as Donald Green and claimed to be an official with the Mega Millions Three State Lottery Company based in Las Vegas, Nev.
He told her that she had not only won the $1.5 million, but she'd also scored a 2012 Lincoln Town Car.
How did she win? The “lottery official” told her that whenever customers spend $20 or more at any Walmart, they are automatically entered into a lottery drawing.
It was all a scam.
Unfortunately, the woman fell for it.
She purchased a Green Dot MoneyPak card in the amount of $200, and then a second one at $300, all at the direction of the “lottery official” to receive her winnings.
It wasn’t until she spent the money that she became suspicious about what was going on. She called the Coconino County Sheriff's Office to report the crime.
According to the Arizona State Attorney General's Office, scam artists pose as telemarketers, bank or credit-card company employees, charity volunteers, or election officials to get your money, your identity, or other means to get access to your money.
Don’t get scammed. Here are some red flags to look out for just in case you are ever a target.
Scam artists may pose as:
- Telemarketers from a fake company, or a legitimate company he or she doesn't work for, to trick you into giving them money or a credit-card number for a bogus or poorly made product or a service you will never receive.
- Employees from your bank or credit card company calling to "verify" or "confirm" your information to trick you into giving them vital personal information, such as your social security number or bank account number.
- A kind-hearted volunteer asking for a donation for a fake charity or a real charity to trick you into giving them cash or a credit card number.
- An election official or political party asking you to update your voter registration or to register you to vote in order to trick you into giving them your social security number and/or date of birth.
To protect yourself, you can always check out a company, by going to to the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.
You can also put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov.