Sweepstakes Caller Poses as BBB Rep

March 25, 2011

Richmonders told to Wire Money to Alabama


RICHMOND, Va. – The local office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently fielded a flurry of inquiries from Richmond-area consumers about telephone calls they received from an individual posing as a BBB rep.


The consumers said the caller informed them that they had won a “Mega-Millions Sweepstakes.”  One person said she was told she had won $550,000.  Another person said her price was $250,000 plus a Mercedes-Benz.


Before receiving the prize, the consumers were required to wire a processing fee of $99 to a Mary Kilgo in Huntsville, Ala.  The mysterious caller also instructed them not to speak to anyone about the prize unless the person said the password “In God we trust.”  


“We’re alarmed that someone would hide behind the good name of the Better Business Bureau.  Fortunately, most Richmond consumers know that we’re not in the sweepstakes business,” said Tom Gallagher, president and CEO of the BBB in Central Virginia.


Gallagher warns consumers to be suspect of any sweepstakes calls, particularly if there is a requirement to send a fee in advance.  “Scam artists are always developing new and different ways to entice people to wire money in advance,” he said.


Scams, like the sweepstakes caller, should be reported to the Better Business Bureau at 804-648-0030.


The BBB in Central Virginia serves Richmond and Tri-Cities, as well as 42 surrounding counties, from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of the BBB include business reliability reports, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, consumer and business education and charity review.