Resident educates public on scam prevention
A Jackson County resident has been trying to educate people on how not to become a victim of scam artists.
This comes after two of her friends lost thousands of dollars in sweepstakes scams. The sweepstakes letters kept coming in the mail.
"It looks very legitimate and it says the person has won and it said the person had won $1,840,000," concerned citizen, Vicki Fuqua said. "This one asked for a data fee of $20."
Those fees led to Fuqua's friend being scammed out of more than $500,000.
"They say send $20, $40, and then after you do that, they realize that you are a good victim and so they keep asking for more money. I wish I knew exactly what they say to keep them on the hook," Fuqua said.
In one instance when her friend was dealing with the scammers, Fuqua says during a two day period, he received 47 sweepstakes and lottery letters all saying he was a winner.
"I said, 'What sweepstakes did you enter?' and he said 'Well, I didn't enter one'. I said, 'Then you haven't won anything.' One person really believed his millions of dollars were coming in a Brinks truck with two U.S. marshals escorting it," Fuqua detailed.
"It's become a real problem in Jackson County," Sheriff Lou Roberts said. "The people making the phone calls a lot of time are making them to our elderly population. We had one particular day that we received over 36 calls that it was an IRS scam."
Officials say the calls come from both within and outside the U.S., with scammers walking away with millions of other people's dollars.
"If you don't know that area code then don't answer it. If they get a letter, just throw it in the trash. If it sounds too good to be true, it is," Fuqua said.
Fuqua is holding a free "lunch and learn" program on February 18th to further educate the public on scams. The event will be from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. at the Jackson County Extension Office. She asks that you call (850) 482-9620 to reserve a spot.
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