Greensboro, NC-- A couple told News 2 that they received a prize from Wal-Mart worth $150,000. When they called the number to claim the prize, the man on the other end demanded their banking information.
Susan and Terry Brown could use the money. Times are tight and a check landing on their doorstep would have been a dream come true.....turns out, too good to be true.
When Susan called the number to claim the prize, the man on the other end barely spoke English. He told her to deposit the check they sent in the letter worth $3,990. The caller also wanted their banking information. He said they needed to take out the proper taxes before they would be award the total prize of $150,000.
That was the red flag for Susan. She let News 2 know because she wanted others to beware that a potential scheme was disguising itself behind the Wal-Mart name, a place the Browns shop three times a week.
The North Carolina Attorney General's Office told News 2's Liz Crawford that counterfeit checks and sweepstakes schemes have been out there for a long time. Here are their tips to protect yourself:
AG's office: Counterfeit Checks
AG's office: Sweepstakes and Lotteries
A Wal-Mart representative told News 2 that they don't send prize checks to individuals. They also don't ask for personal and financial information like banking information or social security numbers.
Wal-Mart asked News 2 to send them pictures of the documents the Browns received so they can get it over to the Wal-Mart legal team. They are alarmed that their name is associated with this circumstance.
WFMY News 2 asked the AG and the Guilford County Sheriff's Office why the people behind these schemes never get caught.
Here's what the AG's office told News 2:
Many of these scams originate in other countries like Canada, Jamaica, Costa Rica or Australia.
We work with federal and international law enforcement to try to bust the fraud rings that run these scams. We've also worked with banks and wire services to get them to spot victims before they deposit counterfeit checks or wire away their hard-earned money. But in most cases once a victim has lost his or her money, it can be very hard to get it back.
It's not unusual for scammers to share lists of victims, especially senior victims, with other scammers. Sometimes we see the same people fall victim to scams again and again.
We have speakers who travel across the state to educate consumers to keep them from losing their money to these scams in the first place. We've partnered with senior groups to hold Scam Jams across North Carolina to share useful tips on how to avoid telemarketing scams, risky investment schemes and identity theft.
If you receive bogus prize phone calls or checks be sure to inform the NC Attorney General's Office by calling their scam hotline: 1-877-566-7226 or 1-8775 (No Scam).
WFMY News 2, North Carolina Attorney General, Wal-Mart Media Relations