MADERA COUNTY – Sheriff John Anderson has issued a county-wide fraud alert after Madera County Sheriff’s deputies responded to what Anderson describes as a terrifying twist to a sweepstakes scam targeting senior citizens.
Those behind sweepstakes scams have graduated from convincing victims to wire money in order to collect a prize, to an even bigger enticement.
They’re now telling victims that a police officer has been retained – presumably for “their protection” – who will personally escort them to their bank.
The victim called the sheriff after learning that someone was actually coming to her home. She reports the caller told her that she had won a million dollars and a police officer would stop by that morning.
A plain clothes Madera County Sheriff’s detective went to her home to make sure she was safe and stayed with her well after the alleged designated pick-up time.
Sheriff Anderson says the immediate clue that it’s a scam is when people are told that a fee is required in order to collect a prize. Bona fide prizes do not come with monetary catches. If they are asking you to hand over money, you haven’t won anything, he says.