January 27, 2011

$5 Million Lottery Prize Turns Into Death Threats For Local Scam Victim

What started out as a pleasant surprise turned ugly over a 24-hour period for a local Memphis woman, who is hoping her experience can educate area residents of some of the dangers of phone and Internet scam artists.

Local law enforcement reported an elderly Memphis resident got the drop on an international scam artist, turning the tables on the would-be thief during a series of phone conversations on January 20th and 21st.

The victim, who asked to remained unnamed, contacted the sheriff's office as well as the FBI, regarding calls she had received about winning $5 million prize in the International Lottery.

The caller informed her all she needed to do to claim the prize was send a money transfer of $195 to the company's main office. Once she had the Western Union receipt, the caller pledged to poise to meet the delivery company at her front door to present the winnings in Publisher Clearing House fashion, with balloons and confetti.

The caller immediately identified this was a scam, but indicated she would participate in an effort to garner more information from the caller in hopes her efforts might lead law enforcement to apprehend the criminal(s) involved.

Unfortunately, she learned through the FBI that this is a very common criminal activity that normally operates from foreign countries via cellular phones, making it virtually untraceable.

After a series of calls to check on the status of her payment, the local resident finally informed the scam artist that she would not be sending any money. The criminal then allegedly threatened to be en-route to the home where he would "execute" both the woman and her husband.

The FBI had warned her that the scam artists often stoop to threats of violence once their efforts to steal money are not fulfilled.

"I let them know that everyone in our town knows about what they are doing, as does the FBI, so they should quit bothering our community because we were not going to fall for their scams or their threats," said the victim.

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