Sue McConnell, Sr. VP
216.623.8964 x 109
For Immediate Release – 3/9/2010 - Consumers are reporting two new telemarketing scams promising phony prizes. One scammer even claims to be the Better Business Bureau.
A Cleveland man told BBB he received a call this morning from someone claiming he was from the Cleveland BBB. The caller said the consumer had won $1.8 million and a new Mercedes. The call came from (876) 382-3005.
It goes without saying that BBB is not giving away prizes and certainly not calling from an 876 area code which originates from Jamaica. A BBB staffer called the 876 number and was told she had won $2.5 million and a new BMW. What did she need to do to claim the prize? Simply go to MoneyGram and wire $332 to Warren Martin in Jamaica. The fee was to pay IRS taxes, insurance, and shipping/handling charges for the prize package. The wired funds needed to go to Jamaica because the $2.5 million was in an account in a Jamaican bank. The scammer also claimed the prize was from a contest with entrants comprised of anyone who had purchased items by credit card at either Walmart or Kmart.
Walmart is also being used in another current telemarketing scam. Callers to BBB report they were contacted by phone from a caller who claimed they had won a $50 Walmart gift card. To receive the prize, the consumer was instructed to provide a credit or debt card number to pay the $3.90 shipping and handling fee.
BBB confirmed with Walmart authorities that Walmart is not affiliated with either prize giveaway. Walmart Corporate office’s Division of Loss Prevention is aware of the scam and has received many calls from consumers. Walmart advised they will never initiate a phone call during which they will ask for sensitive personal data like credit card information or social security numbers. The scam has become so prevalent, that Walmart recently posted a warning on their Web site.
“Consumers are very vulnerable to these types of scams in our current economic climate,” said David Weiss, BBB president and CEO. “Anyone who is currently unemployed or plagued by rising credit card debt may hope against hope that these bogus prize offers are real.”
BBB warns consumers to hang up on these types of callers. Do not be duped into wiring money or giving any type of personal information in the hopes of receiving prizes.