A common scam is making its rounds again in Texoma.
“We constantly receive phone calls on the lottery scam,” said Monica Horton with the Better Business Bureau. “It works in a fashion where they want you to wire money to them.”
That’s what happened to Shelly Baker, a Wichita Falls resident and mother. It started with a phone call. In the past few weeks alone she and her husband have received numerous calls, all from someone claiming to be from the Publisher’s Clearing House.
“This gentlemen saying he's from Publishers Clearing House, phone number was out of Jamaica, that he had won all this money but in order for him to collect it he had to send him $800 dollars,” said Baker.
She said the harassment went on for more than a week.
“You always see it advertised on TV where they show up at your door and say ‘hey you're the winner here's a big check,’ you never get these phone calls from foreign countries,” said Baker.
But the very last time the phone rang she had finally had enough.
“I told him, ‘you know this is a scam, I know it’s a scam. You might as well quit wasting your time and not call back,’” said Baker.
BBB officials said this type of scam is all too common. But it doesn't end even when you hang up the phone.
“Consumers who engage them, their numbers get shared,” said Horton. If they think there is a remote chance that they're going to get you to fall for something, your number and your information is going to get shared.”
Horton said the next step in the scam is to receive a check in the mail. The check will appear real with an actual business logo, a routing number and banking address.
But don't let that fool you. Horton said those checks are fake. Con-artists use them to convince target that they really did win money.
However, there are ways to verify the authenticity. The first thing you can do is check if the routing number matches this bank.
She said it’s pretty easy to find out. You can call the bank, or even go online. Another way to verify is to call the business on the check. If you do, make sure you do not use any phone number you find on the check.
The third step, if you're still unsure, is to contact the Better Business Bureau.
The main problem with the checks is that the bank will actually allow you to cash them. Then the scam continues because you will be responsible for the money on that check. Horton said because the checks are so realistic the bank may not even catch the fraud for as long as a year after you've cashed it.
Horton said the most important thing to remember is to not respond or engage with any of these callers. They recommend you just simply hang up. Even just few words could mean your number and information will be shared with other scammers.