Local News

Skepticism Pays Off In Avoiding Sweepstakes Scam

Posted April 28, 2004

— Wouldn't it be exciting to win $500,000? A Fayetteville woman was thrilled when she got a call saying she won such a prize, but ended up calling Five on Your Side's Monica Laliberte for help.

Becky Dwyer received a call from a man who claimed to be with American Family Publishers. He told Dwyer she won $500,000.

"I was excited, like I had won $500,000. I couldn't believe it," she said.

The man told her to write down everything he said. Dwyer says it all sounded so real.

"They were flying in on a chartered jet to Fayetteville Regional Airport," she said. "There would be four limousines coming to my house. They would have the balloons, the roses -- you know, the big 10-pound check that they carry."

Dwyer's husband, Bobby, was skeptical.

"There's got to be a catch," he said. "I told her 'When he asks for money, call me.'"

The man called back and told Dwyer she needed to wire $2,000 to a "tax escrow account" in Seattle. So she got the cash and went to Western Union.

Before sending it, Bobby Dwyer called and questioned the man and told his wife not to send the money.

"I argued with him and argued with him. It was like, 'Bobby, he is for real," Dwyer said.

A family member checked out

Ripoff Report.com

and found out the scam is widespread.

The Web site includes a list of people who sent e-mails about similar experiences. Some people lost thousands of dollars.

"I was sick that I actually almost fell for this," Dwyer said.

Now, the Dwyers want to warn others, because instead of winning big, they almost lost their hard-earned money.

Five On Your Side tried calling the man who called Dwyer and got a recording saying his phone was disconnected. The bottom line is if you win a prize it should not cost anything -- other than the taxes.

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