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Brown County Sheriff's Office sees increase in scam reports

By Betty Nguyen, bnguyen@ktxs.com
Published On: Apr 04 2014 07:34:09 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 04 2014 11:12:33 PM CDT
BROWNWOOD, Texas -

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office said there has recently been an increase in scam reports, in which victims think they've won money and end up losing money instead.

"Unsuspecting victims are receiving calls from individuals, telling them that they've won the Publishers Clearing House giveaway, which is telling them they've won a million dollars," Sgt. Vance Hill said. 

Don Salas, 38, was one of those victims.

About two weeks ago, Salas received a phone call from someone who allegedly worked in conjunction with Publishers Clearing House, a company known for its free sweepstakes.

"I got a phone call one morning, saying that I had won $2.5 million out of a contest," Salas said. "I thought all my troubles were over, all my financial debts were done and I thought that was it."

However, the person on the phone continuously requested Salas to purchase Green Dot Moneypak cards and pay in order to receive his prize. Salas realized it was a scam after he paid about $900.

"I was angry at the time," Salas said. "I was disappointed, and I felt used."

Hill said it is a red flag if you have to pay money to win money. 

"Do not give out any money, bank account information, or personal identification," Hill said. "Just hang up the phone, give us a call and we'll see what we can do."

He added the fact that Publishers Clearing House would contact people face-to-face rather than over the phone.

The BCSO receives an average of six scam reports per month. Hill said it's hard to investigate these types of incidents because the perpetrators are usually overseas.