Phone scam targets elderly in Warren County

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. – The Warren County Sheriff's Office is investigating a phone scam and asking residents to familiarize themselves with the details of the scam process in order to protect themselves from becoming a victim.

According to the sheriff's office, a criminal organization operating outside of the U.S. initiates phone contact with individuals, and informs the victim that they have won a prize or a sweepstakes. The caller then informs the victim that a surcharge or fee is required in order to process their winnings, and directs the victim to acquire a “Green Dot” pre-paid debit card and place a certain amount of money on the account. The caller will either instruct the victim to mail them the Green Dot card, or will call the victim back and seek the Green Dot account information over the phone.

On Wednesday, Jan. 23, sheriff's officers were contacted by a 75-year-old Queensbury resident who had been victimized by this scam. This victim reports that she has sent approximately $5,000 over several transactions to various addresses in order to claim her prize of a BMW automobile and a “large cash prize”.

The victim further reported that one of the subjects had contacted her via telephone and informed her that he had recently flown to New York and was prepared to come to Queensbury to assist her with acquiring her winnings, and made an appointment to meet with her. The victim advised officers that she arrived at her residence the following day and found that someone had placed a note under her apartment door containing the name and phone number of the person she had been speaking to.

Residents are asked to be aware that by sending a person to a victim's residence the suspects are attempting to create an impression of validity to their criminal enterprise, as well as an element of intimidation.

The sheriff's office reminds residents that no legitimate contest or sweepstakes will require the winner to send money in order to claim their prize.

Residents are asked to contact police if they have any questions.

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