August 13, 2014



BBB Is getting calls from seniors throughout our 18-county area who are being called by criminals in Jamaica demanding money.

The pitch begins with the claim that they have won a contest or sweepstakes (one caller said the "Readers Digest Sweepstakes") and that they need to send money to pay for expenses to claim their million dollar prizes. One senior, in Henry County, has already sent more than $ 12,000 to these crooks. She is now fearful that they will come to her home if she doesn't send more money. They have threatened to kill her three times!

Another senior in the Tiffin area has received multiple calls demanding $1,500 to claim her prize. When her family member told the crook to stop calling, he was belligerent and threatening. "Lady, I'm a terrorist and I know where you live! I'm going to come to your home, kill you and burn down your house!"

Of course these bandits are calling from Jamaica, so their threats to come to the homes are ridiculous. But the seniors are terrified by the threats.

BBB urges consumers to warn their family members about these scam calls.

*** DO NOT SEND MONEY! No true contest ever demands money in advance. They withhold the expenses from the payment check. One consumer was told she had won $ 1 million but needed to send $5,000 in advance. She told them to withhold the $ 5,000 from the million and send the rest. The caller used profanity at her and hung up.

*** Do not trust Caller ID. Criminals can "spoof" the phone numbers on caller ID or even insert fake names like IRS or Readers Digest. Although calls from Jamaica are hitting our area hard, criminals from around the world constantly use the same tactics to threaten and steal money from consumers.

*** Stop and verify! Do NOT give these callers any information about yourself. Do not give them bank account numbers or credit card information. Ask them for their name, company and phone number, then tell them you will check their story and call them back. If they refuse, hang up!

*** Seniors getting such calls should report them to their local police, their family members and BBB. Our office works with other law enforcement (such as Homeland Security in the case where the caller claims to be a "terrorist").

*** BBB is (419) 531-3116 or 800-743-4222.

Dick Eppstein, BBB

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