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Old scam now using social media to target victims

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Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Old scam now using social media to target victims

By Daniel Gutierrez. CREATED Aug 8, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- We've all dreamed of winning the lottery. But thieves are using some rather high-tech ways, to trick you into thinking you've hit the jackpot.

"It very much angers me," said Mary Dixon.

She wants to get the word out. She was the recent target of scam artists, who were looking for their next victim through Facebook. It all started last week with a friend request from Publishers Clearing House. Mary said she didn't think much of it.

"So I accepted it because I have a lot of stuff, emails and the stuff from Publishers Clearing House, like I think most people probably do."

She said her new "friend" sent her a message asking how her day was going.

"So I type back, I'm fine. And he's like well it just got better. You're the winner of one of our grand sweepstakes, plus $7,000 a week," Mary explained.

She was told a crew from Publishers Clearing House was on their way to her home. But there was a catch. In order to get her big check, she'd have to pay a small fee up front.

"$299.99, that and your ID will give you your check," said Mary.

She was told to buy a Green Dot Money Pak card, and once she had the pre-paid charge card, she was told to call, so she could make the payment over the phone.

Mary said she didn't believe it for a minute, but decided to give them her phone number, in order to learn more. Someone called her right away, and explained she didn't have a lot of time to waste.

"The crew's on their way so you have to hurry up and go buy that charge card," said Mary.

But after the phone call, instead of going to buy a Green Dot card, Mary reached out to Contact 13. She's warning others about this sweepstakes scam on social media.

"If they want money, it's not legit. Period. No matter who they are," said Mary.

But it doesn't end there. When Mary didn't call them with her payment, she heard from a very angry caller the next day.

"He starts screaming at me. He goes, 'I'm on my way to arrest you.' And I'm like, I'm going to tell you what, do not contact me again, period. This call is being recorded and I don't want to hear from you again and I just hung up and he has not called back," said Mary.

Here's the Contact 13 bottom line: Always look for red flags from any offer that seems too good to be true. In this case, Mary said the person who contacted her via Facebook had terrible grammar.

Scammers were just hijacking the well-known Publishers Clearing House name. Publishers Clearing House told Contact 13, they never contact their winners before presenting them with their prize.

For more information from Publishers Clearing House, click here.

To report an Internet crime, click here.