WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A sweepstakes scam is popping up again in Wichita Falls.
"This scam has been going on for several years. But we have seen it heating up recently in our local service area," BBB President, Monica Horton said.
It begins with an unsolicited phone call.
"Basically, the caller says you have won a new vehicle. In order to receive your winnings and the vehicle you have to pay taxes and fees. They turn around and ask the consumer to wire money to them to cover those fees in order to receive those winnings," Horton said.
Although red flags seem obvious, Horton said cash can sway people.
"I think that when you're contacted by somebody and they say you have a lot of winnings, sometimes dollar signs cloud our judgment," she said.
Newschannel 6 received calls about this scam from residents concerned their loved ones had fallen for it. One woman said her family member had sent $1,000 and had yet to receive a Mercedes he was told he won. Horton said the money consumers send will not be returned.
"Unfortunately, if we hear from a consumer after they've already wired money there's not a whole lot that can be done," she said.
These operations are often run outside of the United States which means chances of catching these crooks are slim.
"U.S. law enforcement can't jump across the border and go track these folks down in another country," Horton said.
If you are asked to wire money in any form or fashion Horton said this is a huge red flag. You should not have to pay a dime in order to receive any winnings or prizes. If you'd like to report a scam or see what scams are popping up in your area click here.
Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6