PORTLAND – An elaborate phone scam has been fooling people into thinking they’ve won millions, then taking their money.
Police said the caller tells the victim they have just won the Mega Millions Give-A-Way. Then, explains that they have a new vehicle on the way, too and free gas for a year.
But here’s the catch – the caller says that the “winner” has to pay the taxes before he or she can collect the prizes. A 60-year-old Portland woman told police she got several of these calls from these two phone numbers: 876-419-6771 and 817-376-9326.
She said since January 6, someone who said his name was Jon Farrell has continued to call her regularly. He told her that a local representative is ready to come to her house to pick up the tax payment. He also offered to collect the money over the phone on a money card or via Western Union.
“This scam unfolds when this victim, who is on a fixed income and a cancer survivor with other medical conditions, is told to get her caretaker to take her to the local Wal-Mart and get a Money Pak money card,” explained Sgt. Pete Simpson, with the Portland Police Bureau. “The caller gives the victim repeated prodding… They are very high pressure and won't take no for an answer.”
Fortunately, the Portland woman has not given them any money. Several more people may have been targeted in the Portland area, possibly even across the state.
Simpson said the two phone numbers noted by the Portland woman were already under investigation with the FTC and Nigerian Police Authorities. He added that sometimes, the callers have Jamaican accents.
“These people are very vicious on the phone and will threaten victims’ lives, to include bomb threats, if the caller does not cave in to the unrelenting phone calls,” Simpson said.
But Simpson warned that if a victim does respond, then there is little law enforcement can do to recover the funds as they are almost always sent out of the United States.
Anyone else who thinks they may be a target should contact their local police department.