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Eagle Ford: Don’t fall for money-card scam
Wilson County residents are falling victim to a money card scam, losing from $800 to $1,000 after following instructions from scammers by phone.
One victim contacted the Wilson County News about the scam after filing a report Oct. 24 with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office. The victim said she received a phone call, saying she had won a cash prize of $1 million and a car in the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, but she needed to pay the taxes.
To do so, she was instructed to go to Walmart, purchase Green Dot MoneyPak cards, and advise the caller of the card numbers. As soon as the caller got the card numbers, the money vanished.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office states, “It is illegal for someone to require up-front payment before funding a loan or paying out a sweepstakes prize.” The attorney general’s advice is to report the scam to local police or the sheriff’s office.
Richard Nichols, investigator with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed that a report had been filed.
The Publishers Clearing House (PCH) website also warns about fraud. “At PCH the winning is always free and you never have to pay to claim a prize award. ... If someone contacts you claiming to be from PCH, and tells you that you’ve won a prize award -- then asks you to send a payment or money card in order to claim the prize -- stop. You have not heard from the real PCH.”
Publishers Clearing House asks victims of a scam using its name to contact them at 1-800-392-4190.
People in North Dakota fell victim to a similar scam last year. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in November 2012 explained, “What makes the MoneyPak cards so attractive to scam artists is that they can get to the money on the card immediately, from anywhere in the world, just by using a computer. They can drain the funds from the card before the consumer even hangs up the phone.”
Five telltale signs of a scam
The Texas Attorney General’s Office offers these warning signs that you are being scammed.
•They contacted you.
•They dangle bait, such as a large sum of money, prize, or an easy loan.
•They want your personal information -- bank account or Social Security Number.
•First, you have to pay them.
•You have to wire money instead of mailing it.
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