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Yavapai County Sheriff: Sweepstakes scam targets seniors

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — Warnings are going out to seniors in Yavapai County as well as across the nation about a sweepstakes scam.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said it has received an overwhelming amount of complaints regarding various scams by phone and internet during the last several weeks. The most common one involves victims receiving an unsolicited phone call announcing they have won several million dollars and a new Mercedes-Benz sedan, according to a news release.

Department spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn says in order for the “winner” to receive the prize they are asked to pay processing fees up front via credit card or wire transfer. One 84-year-old Prescott man fell victim to the scam and lost more than $3,000.

Most of the calls to seniors in the Prescott area have come from an 876 area code, which belongs to the country of Jamaica. D’Evelyn recommends people ignore the calls from the area code but if they happen to answer to hang up and alert authorities.

“We had a gal who was threatened because she questioned some of the issues that the suspects were bringing up,” D’Evelyn said.

The Federal Trade Commission has further details on Jamaican fraudsters on its website.