(Crittenden County, AR) The Attorney General's office warns crooks are baiting people with news they've won a new car.
The problem is the "scammers" want their victims to send them money before they can collect their new set of wheels.
Cheryl Pruitt of West Memphis has her share of stories about "scam" artists, "I know if you've got to send money for something that you've supposed to have won. Then you've not won anything."
She says most of their offers have come to her through the internet, "I've gotten e-mails from other countries saying that I won some big lottery from Microsoft, but I've got to send X amount of dollars to receive the money. I always delete the e-mail."
Using a legitimate business name is one way "scammers" convince victims they've "hit the jackpot" for real.
In Arkansas, there are increasing complaints of crooks contacting potential victims by telephone, suggesting they know exactly where people live.
They tell them they've won a new car and to wire money for taxes and processing fees.
Randy Hutchinson, President of The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South, says that's where crooks "lower the boom" on their victims, "Because as soon as you've wired it they can pretty quickly go to where ever the office is that it's been wired to and get the money. And it's gone."
The Memphis BBB office gets plenty of calls from people in Crittenden County.
Some have received a jackpot notification letter, a bogus check, an e-mail or a phone call from "scam" artists.
Hutchinson says foreign lotteries are illegal in this country and "scam" artists are often part of overseas crime rings.
He warns, whether it's a car or cash, it's almost always "too good to be true".
Just ask John McMullin.
He almost got duped by a "scam" for a thousand dollar credit card, "I know it sounds attractive to win a thousand dollars. But just don't go in debt too far. Just go to the police department."
The Arkansas Attorney General's office says people who get suspicious calls should write down the number from where the call originated and call the state's consumer division.
By all means, don't wire any money.