Police: Eau Claire woman scammed out of nearly $40,000

Published: Feb. 28, 2018 at 4:37 PM CST
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After an Eau Claire woman lost tens of thousands of dollars to a scam police are asking the community to help educate those most at risk.

This month the Eau Claire Police Department says an 83-year-old woman was scammed out of nearly $40,000.

The department says the woman received a call that she'd won a Publisher's Clearinghouse sweepstakes of $2.5 million but had to send in money before she receiving the windfall.

Unfortunately, the department says she ended up draining her savings before she was notified that it was a scam.

Officer Kyle Roder explained, “Initially she was asked to send $3,500 to the address to claim her prize. After she did that she was asked to send another $17,000 which went though. After that they asked for $18,000 and finally when she indicated she didn't have any money left to send then they ask her to open up a line of credit that could allow her to borrow $10,000 on top of what she’d already lost.”

Draining her savings account by sending $39,000 to an address in Nevada the department says these types of scams usually target the older population.

Roder said, “There's no reason why if you're a winner that you should have to send money to an unknown address or unknown person.”

The department says because of jurisdictional issues and difficulties tracing the scammers officers have a hard time recovering a victim's funds and most times never do which is why the department says it's so important to focus on prevention.

“These are very difficult cases emotionally for us and emotionally for the victims because we know there's not a lot we can do,” added Roder. “The best thing we can do, and the best thing our community can do, is to educate themselves.”

The department says it receives calls about scams on a weekly basis and Roder says the only way to stop them is to spread information.

He explained, “If someone is ever asking you to send you money or they're sending you a check and you need to cash it and send part of it back that's 100 percent of the time a scam.”

the department says the woman's credit union didn't notify her of the scam and it wasn't until she tried to open the line of credit at another local credit union that they alerted her.

Officers also say if you receive a call that you've won money always remember to ask yourself whether you actually entered the sweepstakes.