Scammers are always at work. Their latest victim was a 74-year-old woman in Carter County who was duped out of $62,000. Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said this week he will ask federal authorities to investigate the case of Dorothy Forbes, whose troubles began last month when she received a call telling her she had won $1.5 million from a lottery in Las Vegas.
The caller told Forbes she would have to pay some fees in order to claim her prize. Forbes wired money or mailed money — totaling $62,000 — to various locations.
This is just one version of check scams that bilk honest people of their savings and good credit records. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. That includes winning a jackpot in a lottery you have never purchased a ticket for, or receiving an inheritance from a relative in South Africa you have never heard of. Versions of these scams make their way into local email inboxes everyday.
They are easy to spot because they promise the recipient lots of money for doing nothing more than disclosing their private information, such as Social Security and bank account numbers. Don’t be taken in by these scammers. Never give out your personal information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact.
Government agencies, banks and financial companies do not communicate about personal information via email, or ask for passwords, personal identification numbers or other private information about financial accounts unless you contact them.
As we’ve mentioned in this space many times before, a bit of healthy skepticism might help prevent you from falling victim to a con artist. And remember: If in doubt, check it out.