CONSUMER FIRST ALERT: Scammers using local Powerball winners to bait victims into lottery scam
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A lottery scam is using the names of real winners to deliver false promises.
The scammers are using the names of an Oneida couple who won a share of the massive $316 million Powerball jackpot this year.
Consumer First Alert tracks this scam from South Carolina to Wisconsin.
Last month, it was revealed that Tammy and Cliff Webster of Oneida were the jackpot winners. They purchased the ticket at Jackson Pointe Citgo in Ashwaubneon. The State of Wisconsin requires the identity of lottery winners to be made public.
Recently, a man from South Carolina contacted Consumer First Alert with an alarming story. A scammer has been using the Webster name to bait victims into a lottery scheme.
The man received an email from someone pretending to be the Websters, saying they had decided to donate $10 million to charity and “you’re one of the lucky recipients to get $2 million.” The email is signed “Tammy and Cliff Webster.”
The man didn’t take the bait. He contacted us because the scam email had a link to our story about the Websters winning the Powerball.
“To add credibility they’ll include links and news stories just to make them seem more credible,” says Susan Bach of the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.
Consumer First Alert reached out to the Wisconsin Lottery.
“The Wisconsin Lottery had not heard about this particular scam involving the Websters,” said Kailey Bender, spokesperson for the Wisconsin Lottery. “It is not incredibly surprising as details are used in other countries, other states, in these types of scams. Pretending to be the lottery or winners. We have not seen this specific one, but we have seen this.”
The Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin tracked a similar scam involving another Wisconsin Lottery winner. Victims lost thousands of dollars.
“Since 2019, we’ve received over 300 Scam Tracker reports using Manuel Franco’s name. This is not unusual,” says Bach. “The reports come over the country, not just Wisconsin. It seems anytime there is a big Powerball or Lottery winner we start receiving reports like this.”
Bender says, “If you are contacted by email, letter or phone, call the Lottery. Our number, call our official number so that way you’re in control of the situation. Call 608-266-7777 and verify.”
Do not respond to the scammers. Don’t give out your personal information.
“I think it’s great that you’re warning people about this because it’s definitely a problem,” said Bach.
Wisconsin Lottery advises anyone who thinks they are the victim of a scam or fraud to report it to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
LOTTERY SCAM ALERTS: https://wilottery.com/about/scam-alerts
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