Sheriff Larry Amerson, of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, said the victim received a letter in the mail stating she’d won a $100 Walmart gift card. Amerson said he did not know the victim’s age, but knew that she was retired. Enclosed in the letter was a phone number to call and collect the prize, Amerson said. The woman was told she needed to give her credit card number to pay for the cost of shipping the gift card, the sheriff said.
Later, the victim discovered her account was charged $69, Amerson said.
Amerson said it’s important for victims of scams to report it to law enforcement. The Sheriff’s Office frequently gets reports of Internet or mail scams, he said, and they usually originate outside the U.S.
“It’s very frustrating for us and for victims because the suspects are not here. They essentially get a free shot at our citizens,” Amerson said.
The sheriff warned against giving personal information over the phone to strangers.
“If you win something they aren’t going to make you pay,” Amerson said.
Amerson said deputies were investigating the incident with help from the National White Collar Crime Center, an organization that specifically investigates economic and technology-based crimes.
Any suspects, if found, could be charged with mail fraud, a felony.
Staff Writer Rachael Brown: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RBrown_Star.