A couple from the Philomath, Ore., area lost nearly $56,000 to a scam artist who told them they’d won a lottery but had to send “insurance” money before they could cash in their winnings, the Benton County sheriff’s office said.
The sheriff’s office gave this account: In August, the couple, in their 60s and 70s, received a phone call from a woman calling herself Karen Green of San Bernadino, Calif.
Green said the couple had won the “Rainbow Lottery” and were entitled to $74,000.To cash in, Green said the couple needed to pay insurance costs before they would receive their check.
The couple sent $740 via Western Union but received nothing.
Green repeatedly asked for insurance money and the couple wired more cash. That continued through September, until the losses totaled $55,840.
The couple finally approached the sheriff’s office this week.
Deputies didn’t say exactly how or why the couple kept falling for the scheme. But Lt. Greg Ridler, a sheriff’s office spokesman, said the tactic is common.
“They call it the Canadian Lottery Scam,” he said. “Usually it’s an elderly couple, and they are easily manipulated by friendly people.”
Investigators are looking into the matter, Ridler said, but he said the scam artists are usually mobile and good at covering their tracks.
“It doesn’t look promising,” he said.
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