Sweepstakes scams cause concern

Last week, Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey received an office visitor and two Facebook messages concerning a possible scam involving winning money.

Numerous people have been told they have won money, when in reality it is a scam to obtain the “winner’s” personal information. However, with the recent increase of reports about the scam, Casey decided she needed to warn the public.

One Facebook message stated someone from Publisher’s Clearing House called a woman and said she had a $5,000 check, however, after speaking with the caller he asked to have her debit card number. When she said she didn’t give her personal information over the phone, he “couldn’t believe it and started complaining about all the time he had spent explaining this to me.”

The woman hung up the phone and refused to answer after the man called back.

Another person visited the District Attorney’s office after he received a check and letter in the mail from Novacapital Financial Services for $4,685 stating he was “the second prize winner in the second category of the USA Mega (under the international Sweepstake) draw held on Nov. 28, 2012.”

According to the letter, the serial number attached to the visitor’s name matched the “five lucky winning numbers,” and the Novacapital company was assigned by the international sweepstake company to inform the winner. The “certified check” was delivered by their courier company, Halliburton, to help with the processing fee.

The man was asked to contact their claim agent to claim processing and to activate his $255,000 check. However, the letter stated – “Please do not act on this notice until you contact your claim agent to avoid cases of misappropriation and mishandling of winning.”

Casey advises everyone to be aware of these scams, especially the elderly who seem to be the main targets.