Citrus County, Florida-In a quiet district of Florida, the words of the winner of the sweepstakes are making noise to their neighbors.
“There is no doubt, it’s kind of weird,” said neighbor Bob Gregoire.
The neighbor’s winner was probably set to win her jackpot through the publisher’s clearinghouse and charge more than $ 10 million, neighbors said.
But that is the end of excitement. It turns out that a woman believes she is the winner, but in reality it is not. In fact, mostly retired residents of the Citrus County community fear that their 91-year-old neighbor is actually one of the latest victims of old-fashioned fraud.
“She’s mentally flawless. When it comes to this scam, she’s completely off the chart,” neighbor Patricia Maynard told us. Maynard also tried to convince the woman she couldn’t win.
It started at least a year ago. Maynard and Gregoire said it was when their single-living neighbor revealed that they had won the publisher’s Clearinghouse Award for $ 10 million.
“I explained to her that some scams were happening, and you really need to be careful,” Gregoire said.
But a few months later, a woman who couldn’t identify herself because she wasn’t embarrassed said she was selling a car because she needed money to win Mercedes and pay taxes before the publisher’s liquidation. I talked to a person. The house will give you the key.
Then it got worse. According to neighbors, a real estate agent has listed her home.
“Yes, they [callers] She wanted to get some money, so she tried to get a loan, but she wasn’t qualified and put her house on the market, “said Maynard. Maynard contacted the authorities, starting with the local sheriff’s office in Citrus County. The sheriff’s office reportedly visited the woman a year ago after she sent a $ 40,000 check to the UPS overnight.
Lieutenant Matt Baird of Citrus County believes that checks are associated with fraud.
“She was said to have won some sort of sweepstakes, and she had to pay taxes in advance to win the prize,” Baird said.
Since then, neighbors have contacted the Adult Services Department of the Children and Family Affairs Department. They also contacted the Florida Attorney General’s office. A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office confirmed to us that law enforcement agencies are investigating the matter.
Another neighbor, also trying to help, warned her bank about the scam. The same neighbor is also helping to sort out women’s mail. She showed us a pile of so-called “victory offers” that women receive every day.
Neighbors are afraid that an elderly friend lost about $ 150,000 last year due to a scam.
“It’s a guest,” Maynard said.
On its website, the genuine publisher Clearinghouse dedicates an entire section to warnings about fraud, counterfeiting, and how to avoid them. A spokesperson will elaborate on how to not notify the winner in advance or by phone or social media. A spokeswoman also explains that the winners do not have to pay anything to claim the prize.
Steve Baker is an international research specialist at Better Business Bureau. In 2018, he published a study of how sweepstakes, lotteries, and prize scams cost Americans. He recently updated a survey that while the total number of complaints about these scams was declining, the total amount Americans lost due to these scams increased by 35% between 2019 and 2020. discovered. Admire the fraud.
Baker said it’s surprisingly easy for people to continue to fall into these scams.
“The overall idea of no scams or prizes is more than people can understand,” Baker added. They are professionals, “he said.
Returning to Citrus County, neighbors are still trying to convince a 91-year-old friend that she couldn’t win, hoping it won’t be too late by the time she believes in them.
“They want to dry everything a lovely woman has. They don’t care if she gets to the street. It’s terrible, it’s just not right,” Maynard said.
Florida Neighbors Try To Save Elderly Women From Sweepstakes Scams
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