International phone scam targets seniors - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

International phone scam targets seniors

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - An international phone scam made its way to the Mid-South. It is known as the Jamaican lottery scam and is targeting senior citizens.

Scammers are working out of Jamaica's capital city making calls to the US, selling a fake dream: millions of dollars, new cars and homes won in lotteries and sweepstakes.

The catch? The victims have not entered any sweepstakes.

Jim Warners home phone has been ringing off the hook.

"The first call probably was late last summer, early fall," he said.

The first went to voicemail and his wife called the number back, not knowing it was a Jamaican area code.

"They sound very convincing at first," said Warners. But he and his wife knew it was a scam and they did not offer up any money. Even so, that did not stop the harassing phone calls.

Warners says the calls at first averaged three or four a day. But his wife says she is now getting at least 15 calls each day.

"Of course, they say that they are with Publishers Clearing House or in one case, it was a postal inspector that had a package or somebody from the U.S. Marshals Office. And then they start asking for delivery," said Warners.

The Warners family is not alone. The Federal Trade Commission reported 30,000 complaints related to Jamaican lottery scams in last year, but the number of actual victims is likely higher. Many victims may be too ashamed to report the crimes.

Even the AARP is stepping in and warning seniors of the scam and any MAJOR flags. Some of the red flags include asking for money up front, bullying you over the phone, and not sending any written agreement.

Warners now wants to warn others of the scam to prevent them from falling victim to the Jamaican lottery scam.

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