The following is a scam alert from Crime Stoppers of Oregon:
Crime Stoppers of Oregon has been made aware that several Portland area residents have received phone calls from a person claiming to represent “American Cash Award Sweepstakes and Lottery” and telling callers that they’ve won millions of dollars.
The scammers are telling callers that to receive the award, they need to send money for a “registry fee” to an address in Los Angeles.
Callers typically instruct the victims to purchase re-loadable cards and call them back with the numbers.
Similar scams have been reported in the past year where callers claim to be with a utility or other government agency.
These scammers will often target older community members and/or residents for whom English is a second language.
MoneyPak/Green Dot and Vanilla Reload have online tools to allow purchasers to request a refund if the scammer has not yet cashed the card.
If you fall victim to these scammers with financial loss, you are encouraged to file a report by calling your local law enforcement agency.
Tips to help avoid becoming a victim to this scam
- Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller or email.
- Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
- Utility companies and government agencies will never contact you for payment by GreenDot, MoneyPak or Vanilla Reload.
- Remember that anyone who has the number on a prepaid card has access to the funds on your card.
- Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers to a stranger.
If you receive a similar call, disconnect without providing any information or taking any instructions from the caller.
You also may file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection Office via the Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or complete an online Consumer Complaint Form anytime at www.doj.state.or.us/consumer/Pages/complaint.aspx.