WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A warning Monday night about the latest scam showing up across Northeastern Pennsylvania and law enforcement officials say the scammers seem to be trying to capitalize off the recent mega lottery jackpots.
Who wouldn’t want to be a millionaire? Right? Several targets of the scam reached out to the I-Team with questions about these scam letters. Others tell 28/22 News they just wanted to make sure nobody was victimized and possibly lost their life savings.
“Yes, that’s my only aim is to warn other people in my age group so they don’t fall for something like this,” said Michael Rodola, target of lottery scam.
89-year-old Michael Rodola reached out to the I-Team after receiving a letter in the mail last Thursday. It claimed he won some $4.9 million in a lottery game in Spain.
“I knew it was a scam as soon as I saw it and I thought about calling you right off. But, then I shucked it off. After I slept on it I said I got to call them to get it on the air to help somebody else. Even if it’s only one person,” Rodola added.
The letter looks like the real deal. It details how the recipient, in this case Mr. Rodola won part of a $250-million lottery in Spain, and all he had to do was travel to Madrid, Spain to collect his winnings. If he couldn’t do that they would be more than willing to send him the lottery prize. But all they needed was his personal information so they could wire-transfer him the money or even deliver the money to his house in a certified check. He would also have to send money to pay for that service. They listed an overseas phone number to start the process.
The I-Team called that number and you guessed it.
“Yeah, they cover their tracks equally with phone calls, letters, emails. It comes from a fake address in fact what we’ve seen many times is it comes from an address that’s a vacant house,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce.
D.A. Sanguedolce says there’s a general rule to follow whether it be email, regular mail, or phone call scams.
“I just can’t stress enough. Anyone who’s calling you and asking to send money for you to get money is a scam,” Sanguedolce added.
He also points out, if you fall victim to these scammers, you could kiss your money goodbye.
“Law enforcement has no way to chase them down. They come from overseas. The FBI can’t even track them or stop them. We’re really in a situation where people need to be ultra-vigilant. As the old saying goes a fool and his money are soon parted,” Sanguedolce continued.
And Mr. Rodola says he wanted to help make sure no one is ‘parted from their money.
“I guess there are some people out there that would fall for it. If you get this on the air and they see it. They’ll back off,” Rodola added.
D.A. Sanguedolce advises that if you receive a scam letter of any type, call our local police and make them aware of it.