On Feb. 7, Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith announced an investigation into a reported telephone scam offering lottery prizes. On Jan. 31, a Mahopac resident reported receiving a telephone call from a person purporting to represent the “Global Sweepstakes Lottery.” According to the sheriff, this is what happened: The caller advised that in order to claim a multi-million dollar prize, the resident needed to send the sweepstakes company $2,000, by way of Western Union, to a location in Jamaica or Texas. The reason given was to “satisfy IRS regulations.” Very persistent, the caller repeatedly called back over several days asking for more money, offering an explanation for the additional funds each time.  The caller was so convincing that the victim sent the caller more money, however, no prizes were ever delivered.
            The sheriff said that the alleged perpetrators, a male and a female, had noticeable Jamaican accents and used the names “John Williams,” “Mona Lisa McBen,” and “Glenda Woods.” The return  telephone numbers 876-395-5957 and 876-585-1364 have been traced to the island of Jamaica. Sheriff Smith said: “Each day new schemes to defraud individuals arise. Perpetrators prey on unsuspecting people who hope to get rich quickly.  Unfortunately, victims of these organized scams lose large sums from their savings.  Be wary of any caller offering get-rich-quick schemes.  Never release any personal information or send money to those you don’t know.  Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is.”

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