The Sierra Vista Police Department (SVPD) is warning that Southern Arizona residents are receiving phone calls from scam artists claiming to be from the police and federal law enforcement agencies, in some cases using the names of real police officers.
In the calls, police say that the scam artist will claim to be a federal agent, and tell the victim that they recently won a lottery, and that an officer from their local police department will be contacting them so they can collect on their winnings.
When the “local law enforcement officer” calls the victim they instruct them to wire transfer money out of the country in order to collect on their winnings.
To date, SVPD knows of one victim that has succumbed to this scam. In that instance the scam artist used the name of a real Sierra Vista Police officer.
SVPD says that they became aware of the incident when the victim left a voicemail for the officer asking about the status of his lottery winnings, but by the time they were able to contact the victim he had already sent money to Mexico via wire transfer.
Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona tips to avoid falling for this scam:
- If you don’t remember entering a lottery, you probably didn’t. If someone calls you claiming you did, and won, the best thing to do is to hang up the phone.
- Never wire transfer money to someone whose identity you cannot verify. Once you transfer the money it’s almost impossible to track, especially if the recipient is in a different country.
- Law enforcement- local or federal- will never administer lottery winnings. If someone calls you and claims as much the best course of action is to hang up the phone, and contact your local police, as well as BBB at (520)888-5353, or by visiting www.tucson.bbb.org.