Iowans are being warned about a scam that’s surfaced this week, following Wednesday’s world record Powerball drawing. Jim Hegarty, at the Better Business Bureau, says crooks are always looking for new ways to separate unsuspecting folks from their money.
“We’ll probably start seeing texts and emails that are going out to people saying, ‘We’re sorry you weren’t a grand prize winner but you were a secondary winner,'” Hegarty says. They’ll claim your numbers were picked and you’re eligible to collect a few hundred-thousand dollars. “You call a number and then you’ll be connected with scammers and they’re going to work you,” he says.
Hegarty says Iowans need to be very wary of this type of email, letter or phone call. “If you think this through, there’s no way they can know who you are, they don’t know who has bought these tickets,” he says. “It’s like the foreign lottery scam that we’ve seen for years. You get a letter in the mail saying you’re the grand prize winner of a foreign lottery that you entered because you shopped at Walmart or Target or whatever.”
Con artists have learned to make it appear that they’re legitimate, so Hegarty says you need to be on guard when answering your phone and when opening your mail and email. “The tip-off the the rip-off is that you’ve been contacted,” he says. “They’ll spoof the email to make it look like it’s coming from Powerball, they’ll spoof phone calls to make it look like that, too, so don’t trust caller ID, don’t trust the address.” Hegarty says if one of these scammers calls you, simply hang up.