BBB Warns Consumers about an Old Scam with a New Twist

  
     
August 24, 2012

The Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties is warning consumers of an old scam with a new twist that is making its rounds.

A resident out of Mansfield, Ohio, contacted the BBB after he received a call from a ‘Raymond Davis’ from number (209) 855-4507, which is registered out of Tracy, California. Mr. Davis claimed to be a representative of the BBB and informed the consumer that he won $2 million dollars or a Mercedes Benz. The consumer was asked to go to Walmart, purchase a Green Dot Money Pak Card in the amount of $400, and to call him back with the 14 digit number from the card in order to claim his prize. The consumer was then supposed to meet him at the bank in Mansfield to receive his prize. A friend of the consumer did recognize this as a scam and suggested he call the BBB.

The BBB called the number to reach Mr. Davis, but only got a recorded message that pretended to be from the BBB with instructions to leave a name and number, and that Raymond Davis will return your call.

Christy Page, CEO of the Better Business Bureau, is reminding consumers that the BBB will never contact consumers about lottery, sweepstakes, or prize winnings, and will never act as an agent in administering money to a consumer.Should you receive such a call, please write down the number and what is said during the call and then contact your BBB at (330) 253-4590 to report the scam,” Page added.

BBB offers the following advice:

  • You must enter to win. Remember lottery tickets must be purchased. Sweepstakes usually involve application paperwork that you have personally completed and government grants have a thorough application process as well.
  • Never pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. If you have to pay to collect your winnings, you’re not winning — you’re buying. Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay “insurance,” “taxes,” or “shipping and handling charges” to collect your prize.
  • Never wire money. Scammers pressure people to wire money through commercial money transfer companies because wiring money is the same as sending cash. When the money’s gone, there’s very little chance of recovery. Likewise, resist any push from the caller to send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier. Con artists recommend these services so they can get their hands on your money before you realize you’ve been cheated.
  • Phone numbers can be deceiving. Internet technology allows con artists to disguise their area code so it looks like they’re calling from your local area. But they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
  • Watch the grammar. Scam letters, faxes, or emails are often full of grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Never provide personal information. Scammers can be very charming and charismatic and will lure or pressure you for personal information.
  • Foreign lotteries are illegal. Beware of lottery applications or win announcements coming via telephone or mail from outside the country. Foreign lotteries violate federal law and participating in any way is illegal. The only legal lotteries in the United States are state-run.

For more resources on how to prevent falling for lottery scams and other fraud, contact your Better Business Bureau at (330) 253-4590 or (800) 825-8887, or visit www.akron.bbb.org.

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As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.