NETTLETON – Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley issued a consumer alert today regarding a new phone scam targeting Mississippians. His office has received several complaints from citizens in the Northern District over the past week of the same scam involving a company from Jamaica with false claims of a lottery win mostly targeting senior citizens. The calls all originate from Jamaica and all mostly have an “876” area code.
“In the cases we are investigating, the scammers are using pretty clever tactics to trick the person who answers into believing they have actually won a large amount of money,” Presley said. “Of course, they then tell you they need a certain dollar amount sent to them for insurance and processing fees in order to collect the winnings. Sadly some of our citizens have sent thousands of dollars to these people.” Presley cited an Associated Press story (attached) from yesterday, May 26, 2009 that says the proceeds from the scams are going to Jamaican gangs.
Presley said the scammers repeatedly call the consumers back with false claims that the money wasn’t received or that they needed an extra amount sent for another step to wire the money. In some instances the scammers say that the people bringing the lottery money have had a wreck and they need additional funds from the consumer.
“These people are getting into personal conversations with some of the elderly citizens we have heard about and attempting to befriend them,” Commissioner Presley said. “It is very important that citizens not send these companies any money or give them any personal information.”
To report an incident, please contact Commissioner Presley’s office at 800-356-6428 or 800-637-7722. Consumers can also contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office at 800-281-4418