BBB on telemarketing scam: Don’t be fooled by a familiar name

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(Photo Credit: MGN Online)

CLEVELAND — Better Business Bureau put out a warning Thursday after a 72-year-old Euclid woman lost $1,800 to a telemarketer.

A caller who identified himself as “Robert Shapiro” claimed he represented Publishers Clearing House and told her she won $2.5 million and a new car.

The woman was told to send a $500 money order to a Georgia address.  She sent it.

She was contacted again and told to send $455 for FDIC insurance using a Green Dot MoneyPak card.  She complied.

She also sent a second money order for $860 to the Georgia address to insure the new car.

She blew the whistle when she was told to pay $6,000 for the taxes.

BBB was alerted to similar scams in the area that followed the same scenario.

In another case, a woman wired $1,800 via Western Union to try to claim a bogus $400,000 Publishers Clearing House prize.  She was then contacted by someone claiming to be from the Washington, D.C. BBB who requested her checking account information so she could be “reimbursed.”

BBB said Publishers Clearing House is often used in scams because it is a well-known sweepstakes.

Victims should be cautious as they may receive multiple calls from people falsely claiming to be from the IRS, FBI or BBB, but those agencies do not get involved in the promotion of sweepstakes.

Telemarketers will often be able to provide information about their victims to make them seem legitimate.

If you are contacted about a prize, never wire money, mail cash or use a preloaded debit card (like a Green Dot MoneyPak) for any reason.

BBB would like to spread the word to seniors, who are often targets of telemarketing scams.