Scammers claim to have $8.5 million from Walmart

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Lottery scams have been around for years and it seems over the holidays they ramp up even more. And now the scam stories are becoming more believable.

We got an e-mail into the newsroom from a lady saying she got a call over the weekend from someone claiming to be from Walmart.

They told her she won $8.5 million and a brand new Mercedes Benz. It sounds like great news for Christmas, but then came the punch line we've heard from these stories before -- she had to send a money order before she could collect her winnings.

"Even though it may be new or they have a different twist to it, bottom line is they're trying to steal your money," Better Business Bureau President Leonard Crain says the sad reality of it all is scammers seem to pick up momentum once the holidays approach.

Crain says, "The holidays bring out these types of scams. Our advice is the red flag is don't wire money to anyone anywhere."

The particular scam we're talking about involves a so-called Walmart associate congratulating a sweepstakes winner, but most of the better known scams use a foreign country.

"They may use a well-known name or a big box retail store to persuade you into thinking you've won," Crain told News Leader Nine.

Crain says the bottom line, if you didn't enter one of these lotteries, and you don't know the person on the other end of the phone, it's probably too good to be true, "There's many different scams or ways to do the sweepstakes as there are people out there to dream it up. It would be nice to win some money this time of year, it would be nice to win money any time of year, but anytime they ask you to wire money, that's the red flag."

The Better Business Bureau advises everyone to please contact them if they get a suspicious phone call or e-mail about a lottery or sweepstakes. You can visit their website at or call them at (706)324-0712.

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