Woman scammed out of $60,000

Ruth to the Rescue warns of new scam artists

Published On: Dec 20 2012 07:59:46 PM EST
TROY, Mich. -

Here's another heartbreaking story that should serve as a reminder to all of you about the scam artists out there, looking to take your money!

Troy police say a local woman may have lost up to $60,000 because she believed she'd won millions. Police say an employee at the PNC Bank inside the Kroger on East Long Lake suspected something was wrong.

The 68-year-old woman wanted to wire money to someone. She said she was told she could collect millions if she paid legal and processing fees up front. The woman told police she'd wired thousands of dollars to someone over the past year. They believe the losses could add up to $60,000. The bank employee called police. In those situations, it's rare to recover the money, so you have to protect yourself, and your loved ones.

Ruth to the Rescue Scam Alert

The Ruth to the Rescue unit has been sounding the alarm about scams like this for years. Sadly, the warnings bear repeating as people continue to learn the lesson the hard way. Working with the experts at the Better Business Bureau, Ruth to the Rescue has come up with this guidance.

1) NEVER pay money to collect winnings. Very few, if any, legitimate contests require payment before giving you a prize. Because it is extremely difficult for the victim to track or retrieve money sent via wire transfer, scammers will often use this as their payment method of choice.

2) If you have not entered a contest, it's very difficult to win a contest. Very few, if any, legitimate contests go around looking for random winners just to give money, iPads, or trips to people. At best, those offers come with strings, and in the worst case, they are scams to take your money or personal information.

3) If you want to believe you've won something, take steps to confirm the story. Call any organization directly, through a legitimate number to see if that business is really running a contest. (IE: You might get a text saying you won a Target gift card, call Target directly to see if the contest is real.

4) If you receive emails or texts claiming you have to click on a link to claim the prize, its VERY dangerous to do so, as that link could release a virus into your system that will steal your personal information.

5) Don't fall for phony checks. Scammers will often send a check in the mail to the victim with the instructions that-in order to receive the full prize-he or she must deposit the check and wire back a portion of the funds to cover fees or taxes. This gives the victim a false sense of security because the check will clear initially, but eventually be discovered as a fake. The money is then taken out of the victim's account and he or she is out the funds sent to the scammer.

6) Even the Better Business Bureau's good name is not immune from being used in scams. If you have been contacted by someone posing as a Better Business Bureau employee or someone claiming to be from a Better Business Bureau affiliated sweepstakes/lottery, call the BBB at 248.223.9400 or info@easternmichiganbbb.org.

7) If you have older loved ones who live out of state, check in with them. If they mention winning something- or anything that sounds suspicious, be sure to ask for more details, to make sure no one is trying to rip them off.