Woman bilked out of #036;5,000

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2005

JACKSON – A Northampton County woman is apparently $5,000 poorer due to a scam.

According to Northampton Sheriff’s Detective Brenda Burnette, the victim notified her after the woman, who was unidentified, sent a total of $5,000 by Western Union to an agency that listed a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. address. In return, the local woman was told she would receive $50,000 she had won in an &uot;international lottery.&uot;

The woman did receive two certified checks, totaling $50,000. However, those checks were bogus.

&uot;Unfortunately, the woman found that out when she went to a bank to cash the checks,&uot; Burnette said. &uot;They looked real, but they weren’t worth the paper they were written on.&uot;

The detective said she felt bad for the victim.

&uot;I hate this for her, I really do, but I want our citizens to know that they can also be victimized by con artists such as this,&uot; noted Burnette. &uot;If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.&uot;

She continued, &uot;If you are contacted about winning some sort of lottery you know you didn’t enter, and then they want you to send them money in order for them to send your winnings, then that’s a big red flag. Don’t fall for that.&uot;

Burnette explained the scam, one where the victim was first sent a letter with callback information. She said, in this case, the victim followed the instructions on the letter, one sent by the Prize Award Department of International Promotions.

&uot;The victim used the telephone number at the bottom of the prize notification letter and called,&uot; Burnette stated. &uot;From what I was able to gather from the victim, it’s apparent that the people she spoke with were very calm and convincing, so much to the point where she twice wired them money (a total of $5,000) by Western Union.&uot;

Burnette warned residents to be on the lookout for such scams. She urged citizens to not respond to such bogus claims.

&uot;If you receive a letter and think it’s too good to be true, play it safe and bring it to us first,&uot; she concluded. &uot;Additionally, if someone comes to your door soliciting any type of personal information and you don’t feel comfortable with that request, please ask them to wait while you call the Sheriff’s office. If they are legitimate, they’ll be there when you get off the phone.&uot;