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The original item was published from 2/27/2020 3:25:52 PM to 3/28/2020 12:00:01 AM.

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Sheriff's Office Press Releases

Posted on: February 27, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Citizen conned out of $143,500 from common scam

2019 SCAM ALERT Graphic Red with Phone, Computer and wifi images

YORK COUNTY, SC (YCSO NEWS) - 🚨SCAM ALERT🚨 A York County Resident has been scammed out of $143,500 via the common "You’ve won the lottery" scam. In this case 2 suspects, A "Ben Washington" & "Shirley Marsh" informed the victim he had won $2.8 million dollars. "Shirley" told the victim to send $3,500 to an address in Empoira, Kansas to be able to receive the money. 

After that money was sent, the scammers again called to request 2 blank checks to “verify” the victim’s information. The scammers then cashed the $3,500, then proceeded to write and cash the two checks totaling $140,000. 

This lottery scam is one of the more common scams victims fall prey to every year. In 2018 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 132,470 reports of scams involving prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries that swindled victims totaling $118 million.  

Sheriff Kevin Tolson asks citizens educate family members, especially the elderly about these diabolical scams. 

The following are common signs of the lottery scam:

  • Crooks take advantage of our natural desire to win.  
  • If you receive a phone call, letter or email from anyone saying you’ve won the lottery it is NOT true.
  • No matter how official the solicitation looks or sounds, it is not real.  
  • It’s illegal to use the mail or telephone to play lotteries across borders.  
  • Joining a lottery “club” won’t improve your chances of winning foreign lotteries.  
  • Be cautious when giving out your credit card or bank account numbers.  
  • Lottery scammers often insist the money be wired or mailed to them. 
  • Your chances of recovering money from foreign crooks may be even worse than of actually winning a lottery. 

Other common scams prevalent this time of year are:

  • IRS/Tax scams – Where the scammers claim you didn’t pay your taxes and threaten jail time if you don’t send money immediately. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, phone, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
  • Missed Jury Duty – Scammers typically claim a bench warrant has been issued for missing jury duty summons. If you don’t pay the fine a police officer will come to arrest them.
  • Free Vacation Scam – Preying after your desire to plan your summer vacation, scammers will con people into sending deposits and personal information. Mailed brochures or emails about vacation packages or low cost rentals should be checked by a licensed travel agent.  A scammer sends you a check for a higher-than-discussed rent deposit. After you return the difference, the deposited check proves counterfeit — and you’ve lost the money you sent.

In any possible scam never send a person your personal information, check, credit card information, or prepaid money card. Once the money is gone, it’s gone and very difficult to recover. 

Stay scam smart. 

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