A very nice man by the name of Walter stopped by the police department this morning. He wanted to share a piece of mail he received recently that included an “Award Notification Final Notice,” claiming Walter had just won more than a million dollars in the Spanish Sweepstake Lottery Program.
I was worried that I was going to have to break the bad news to Walter, but quickly realized he’s one sharp guy. Throughout our brief conversation he made several comments that let me know I didn’t have to worry about someone fooling him, such as, “I know I didn’t win anything, I never bought a ticket,” or “I’ve been around long enough to know you don’t get anything for free,” or “I’ve worked too hard for my money to be falling for something like this.”
Unfortunately, for all too many people, these types of scams do work, which is why there are so many of them going around. If the scammers weren’t getting people’s money, then they wouldn’t be wasting their time sending these scams around. We get multiple reports a week from people letting us know they received “a strange phone call,” or “something suspicious in the mail.” That’s why each and every one of us needs to be alert to possible attempts to steal our hard-earned money.
I’ve included a copy of the “Award Notification” Walter brought in. He said if it helped keep even one person from becoming a victim then his trip down to the police department was well worth it. Walter also said he’d spread the word with family and neighbors, in hopes of making sure they don’t become victims either. That’s very helpful too.
We also have an array of information on our website about scams we see in our area and what to do if you do become a victim: http://www.gjcity.org/Financial_Crimes_Investigations.aspx
Like Walter, we hope that you too will share this information with family and neighbors. If you do receive something similar to this in the mail, simply tear it up and throw it away. Or, if you get that phone call that just doesn’t seem right and it sounds like someone is fishing for information, simply hang up. You don’t have to report it to us unless you actually give out your personal information or do have your money stolen. We’re just hoping that by spreading the word we can help prevent that from happening in the first place.