Area residents could be target of lottery scam

Area residents could be the target of a scam involving the purchase of a Green Dot prepaid cards to claim winnings from a sweepstakes or Mega Millions lottery.

Jerry Koile said at first, he thought he got the call of a lifetime when a person identifying himself as John Walker informed him he had won a $2.5 million dollar lottery.

"I even won a blue Mercedes Benz," Koile said.

Koile said the phone call began to have that "too good to be true" feeling when Walker told him that there was a need for him to pay a processing fee in order to claim the prize. He said the fee could not be taken from the winnings though. He was told to go to K-Mart and buy a Green Dot prepaid credit card and load $400 on to the card.

Koile said they told him to load the money and call them back with the numbers and information they would need to access the money and use it towards the processing fee.

"They assured me that upon the payment of the processing fee I would receive a brief case containing $800,000 followed by a check for the remaining amount from UPS and my Mercedes would be delivered to my home," Koile said.

Koile said he told Walker that he would have to leave for the store to get the card and would call him back. He said after he hung up he was convinced this was a scam and began to research what information he had on the Internet.

Koile said when he looked up the number given to him to call back, it was listed in Jamaica. He said he went to K-Mart to find out if anyone else had been there to buy a Green-dot card for a lottery winning.

"This is a situation that we have been seeing in this store. Most of the people coming in are senior citizens," said Alisha Stephenson, assistant manager.

Stephenson said as many at 11 people have purchased a Green Dot card from K-Mart in the past week. She said they couldn't refuse a sale to a customer, though cashiers and management have asked those buying the card if it is for a lottery or sweepstakes contest.

"We warn them about the potential scams," Stephenson said. "We are asking in the best interest of the customers."

There should be no instance where you should have to send someone money in order to receive prize money, said Pete Rivera, Tucumcari deputy police chief.

Rivera said the department has been made aware of the Green Dot scam and is advising the public not to send any money. He said residents should be suspicious of any call that requests you to give money to receive money, which they say you have already won.

"Hang up on them, or just don't answer the phone," Rivera said. "Just don't encourage or antagonize the callers."

Rivera said they recently had a resident file a report of threats stemming from a similar type of call. He said a woman was telling the caller she was doing all the things they were asking her to do. There were several phone calls between the two and finally the woman told the caller that she was just "pulling his chain."

Rivera said the caller became mad and began to threaten the woman, and continued to call her and threaten her numerous times.

"We don't think they will actually come here and harm her," Rivera said. "Though they continue to call and harass."

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