By Cristin Severance


 

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Mary Jacobs of Dallas thought she beat the odds after a call to her home a few days ago.

“He said, ‘Ms. Jacobs, God chose you,’ I said ‘really? Quit lying, I don’t ever win nothing’,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs bought a ticket for the billion dollar Powerball, and thought the man on the phone was telling the truth.

He said she won $2.8 million and a Mercedes Benz.

“My heart was rushing, my legs had got weak,” she said.

The man who called sent over documents with the Mega Millions logo on them, a letter from the BBB and the FTC.

Jacobs said her first red flag, was that he asked her to send $500 to get the money.

“If you done won something, they shouldn’t ask you for money,” said Jacobs.

Her second red flag — within the documents was a letter from the FBI saying she owed them money.

“It talked about taking the assets from my home,” said Jacobs.

The lotto scammer accidentally sent an FBI scam form to Jacobs along with the lottery scam.

Phylissia Landix, VP of Public Relations & Communications, with the Dallas BBB said they have received more reports about lottery scams as the hype around the Powerball grows.

“Everybody wants a piece of that change. Everybody thinks it’s going to be them, so the scammers are aware of that. They are going to capitalize on that,” said Landix.

She said if you do beat the odds of 1 in t290 million –no one is going to call and ask you to pay to get it.

Dallas BBB Tips To Avoid Lottery Scams:

So many people are falling victim to the con and losing large sums of money that both the Federal Trade Commissionand the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre issued alerts about the scam. Some victims are even reporting being threatened with physical harm if they don’t agree to pay the fees.

Tips to Protect Yourself From a Sweepstakes Scam:

♦You can’t win a contest you didn’t enter. You need to buy a ticket or complete an application to participate in a contest or lottery. Be very careful if you’ve been selected as a winner for a contest you never entered.

♦Verify, but not by using a source scammers gave you. Check if an offer is real, but don’t call the phone number in the email or website you suspect may be a scam. If it is a con, chances are the person on the other line will be involved too.

♦Don’t pay up to claim your prize. You should never have to pay money or buy products in order to receive a prize. Be especially wary of wiring money or using a prepaid debit card.

Put your number on a “do not call list.” In the U.S., join the National Do Not Call Registry and in Canada theNational Do Not Call List. This won’t stop scams entirely, but it can help reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive.

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