Police: Scam nets $500k over four years

A central Pennsylvanian was victimized by a scammer over the course of four years, police said.

According to state police at Hollidaysburg, a resident there received a letter in 2010 informing her that she won a prize. When she responded, she was then contacted by phone by a male with a Caribbean accent. The man encouraged her to send him money to help facilitate obtaining and keeping the prize.

Police said the woman was called as many as 20 times per day.

“Time and time again, the victim transferred money to the actor. The actor would explain personal problems or business issues as causal factors; however the prizes never materialized,” police said.

Ultimately, the scam netted $500,000 sent via Western Union, Wal-Mart Money Packs, U.S. Postal Service money orders and FedEx, all sent to Jamaica. The scam was reported March 29.

State police encourage anyone who is contacted about a potential prize to not pay for it up front. According to law enforcement, claiming that payment is to cover the taxes on a prize is a violation of federal law.