"A big red flag:' St. Francis police warning residents about sweepstakes scam

ST. FRANCIS -- St. Francis police are warning about a sweepstakes scam after a resident at a senior living facility was notified that he had won $50,000 -- but was told he needed to pay $700 in fees to the receive money.

According to police, officers on Wednesday, May 6 responded to a senior living facility for the complaint of a fraud attempt.

Upon arrival, the victim advised that he was currently communicating with a person named "Tom" that he believed was trying to scam him out of money.  The victim told police he received a sweepstakes mailing at his apartment that invited him to order magazines that would enter him into a drawing for $50,000 in cash and prizes.

The victim responded to this mailing and received a phone call from "Tom" telling him that he won $50,000 in cash to be deposited in his bank account in increments of $5,000 a month.

The victim believed this was legitimate, because it corresponded with the mailing he responded to.

After giving "Tom" his bank account number, social security number, and home address, "Tom" told the victim he needed to pay $700 in fees/taxes to receive the money.  The victim was notified by his bank when he tried to withdraw the money that this was a scam.

Police set up a surveillance team at the victim's apartment in an attempt to make an arrest. Police believe that a counter-surveillance vehicle was in the area watching police movement. After numerous conversations, "Tom" appeared to be spooked and the deal ended.

The victim was not out any money.

St. Francis police said the following in a press release:

"We want to remind the public that legitimate businesses will NEVER ask for such personal information.  Also, if the “representative” gets angry, aggressive, or frustrated with the “winner,” that is a big RED FLAG!  This happened to our victim-Tom was very irritated and began to yell at him for asking questions. He also told him to not tell anyone.

This fraud is more meticulous than normal, because they prefaced the phone call with a mailer requiring a response from the victim.  If you look closely at the details, a business is never identified.'