Con artist tactics revealed

Aug 21, 2014

Crooks who prey on the vulnerable often keep demanding more money until their victims are tapped out, or wise up.

A pair of North Carolinians who pleaded guilty to multiple charges including wire fraud used this approach. The two contacted mostly elderly people saying they had won a large sweepstakes prize. The winners were told to pay a refundable fee up front in order to collect their winnings.

For those who took the bait, it was just the beginning. The crooks called back with the happy news that the size of the prize winnings had increased. But the fees had also gone up, so the winners needed to send more money. The crooks stole almost a million dollars from their victims.

These particular criminals were caught, but others using the same tactics are still out there looking for victims. Make sure your loved ones know the telltale signs of a scam, like “winning” a sweepstakes that you don’t remember entering and being asked to pay a fee before you get your prize.

If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at