Fraud Unit: BBB prize calls

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is alerting consumers to a scam artist posing as a BBB employee who is calling consumers around the country from a Vail, Ariz. phone number claiming to be administering sweepstakes winnings.

The BBB was alerted by a Florida consumer to calls being made from 520-762-4222, by a woman who claims to be an employee of BBB. The caller is telling consumers that they have won a sweepstakes, and that BBB is acting as an "agent" to deliver the winnings to them.

An employee of the local BBB called the Tucson number, which was answered by a woman who identified herself as "Darlene Reed with the Better Business Bureau." When the BBB employee identified himself as being with the real BBB and confronted the woman about the phone calls, she became argumentative and continued to maintain that she was from the Better Business Bureau before hanging up.

Perpetrators of this scam will often call consumers claiming to be with a legitimate agency claiming that the consumer has won a lottery or a sweepstakes. They tell potential victims that a check will be sent and that they should wire a portion of that check to a specific location in order to claim the bogus prize money.