A Smithfield woman nearly lost a large sum of money in a sweepstakes scam. The 69 year-old victim said she received a phone call last Thursday claiming she had just won a $117 million sweepstakes but time was of the essence. The caller claimed if she could mail in a payment on the taxes and handling fees, she would receive an additional $285,000.
As requested, the victim went to the bank and withdrew $5,495 in cash and sent the money through an overnight courier to an address in Pennsylvania.
A few hours later the victim began having second thoughts and notified Johnston County deputies who told her she had been scammed.
Fortunately, the package containing the money was still in the hands of the shipping company. The victim was able to cancel the delivery and the money was returned.
This is the latest in a series of telephone and internet scams. Authorities say if you don’t remember entering a sweepstakes you probably didn’t. You should never have to pay fees or taxes on your prize money before delivery. And if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. When in doubt don’t hesitate to contact your nearest law enforcement agency.