Sam Penrod ReportingIt's a scam that police say tugs at the heartstrings of those willing to help someone, but it also brings claims of a big payoff. Helping someone claim a winning lottery ticket could make you the loser.
The bad news is that the scam is working, and it takes several people to pull it off. At least two people have been victimized, in both Roy and West Valley, and both victims have lost a big chunk of their savings.
It was in a department store parking lot that West Valley Police say the suspects found their victim. They asked for directions to a nearby church and then a ride. And after they were in the car, they asked another favor.
Capt. Craig Black: “They produced a lottery ticket and indicated they were in the country illegally and requested her help in getting that lottery ticket cashed."
The victim went to the bank and withdrew a large amount of money from her savings the suspects claimed was needed for a deposit on the lottery ticket. That's when the suspects took the cash and got away.
Police have a suspect in a similar case in Roy where a man lost $2500. She used a similar claim of being an illegal alien with a winning lotto ticket worth $200,000.
Hiram Barker, Roy Police Dept.: "The female suspect will be by herself, talking to the victim, trying to sell them. Then the male suspect will come up and pretend to help, ‘Oh I have a cell phone, I can make a call to verify the ticket.’"
The person on the other end of the phone was also in on the scam, claiming the ticket was a winner. The man also took money out of savings.
Police are warning everyone to be cautious with any type of claim.
Hiram Barker: "Utah does not have a lottery, you do not have to come up with thousands of dollars to claim a lotto ticket in the first place. There are a lot of indicators that could warn people."
Police aren't sure if the suspects are from Utah or are here trying to pull of the scam. And if you may have been approached about this scam or been victimized yourself, detectives would like to talk with you.