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Caller imitates FBI, police in sweepstakes scam

Caller imitates FBI, police in sweepstakes scam

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OGDEN — A scammer imitating multiple government agencies nearly convinced a woman to wire money in order to receive $600,000 of supposed sweepstakes winnings.

Earlier this week, a 72-year-old Ogden woman received a phone call from a person claiming to be an FBI agent. The scammer told the woman she had won $600,000 in the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes but the bureau was holding the money after someone else tried to claim the prize, police said. Then, she was told, she would need to wire more than $1,000 to the FBI in order to receive the full winnings.

The woman did not believe the scenario and asked for proof that the caller was with the FBI. The callers said they would send documentation to the Ogden Police Department to verify their identity and the sweepstakes winnings.

Later, the woman received a phone call from someone claiming to be with the Ogden Police Department. She told police she was convinced at that point and headed to the bank to wire the funds.

On the way to the bank, the woman called dispatch with a question about the transfer. She spoke with an officer from the Ogden Police Department and told the officer about the series of events. The officer told her it was a scam.

Instead of going to the bank and wiring the money, the woman went to the police department for a further interview.

Police are warning people to be suspicious of such scenarios. Ogden police also reminded people that it “likely won’t play any role in your Publisher Clearing House winnings.”

Anyone who believes they are being contacted by a scammer should notify police immediately.

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Celeste Tholen Rosenlof

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