Sweepstakes scam strikes Arkansans

    7:17 PM, Feb 24, 2014   |    comments
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    (Photo: Thinkstock)

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A familiar scam with a new twist involves the scammer saying you won a sweepstakes and a TV station will stop by your home. A viewer e-mailed THV to see if it was legitimate.

    The Attorney General's Office gets dozens of calls a day about scams. Up until this report, they have had people report scams similar to this one, but not ones where the caller mentions a local TV station.

    "You won $2 million," said Mary Chaplin. "I said...what?"
    At that moment, 73-year-old Mary Chaplin thought she had become a millionaire. When she answered the phone, the person on the other end told her she won a sweepstakes and that they would be stopping by later that day with a local TV station. But first, she had to go down to the Dollar General store to get a $200 gift card.

    "I said well ok," said Chaplin.

    She tried to get the gift card, but it turns out she didn't have the money.

    "I told him here I had 495," said Chaplin. "I guess he thought I meant I had $495. I had $4.95."

    The call came from a number with an 876 area code, which is a Jamaican area code. Representatives with the Attorney General's Office say that is a sure sign of a scam.

    "They're going to give you information to make it sound like they know exactly who you are when really they don't," said Spokesperson for the Attorney General Aaron Sadler.

    Sadler said people are always going to look for different ways to get your money.

    "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," said Sadler.

    Sadler said a legitimate sweepstakes company will never ask for money in order to give you money, and they probably will not tell you they are coming to your house.

    If you believe that a scammer tried to contact you, you can call the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 800-482-8982 or go to gotyourbackarkansas.org.

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