Scammer cons elderly Troy woman out of $600K with fake sweepstakes win

Quick Intro

An elderly woman from Troy was deceived into losing over $600,000 by a scammer who convinced her she had won a massive Publishers Clearing House prize. The 73-year-old victim received a counterfeit PCH document, falsely stating she had won $3.5 million, a car, and a weekly sum of $7,000, according to Troy police.

Sgt. Ben Hancock of Troy police highlighted the age-old wisdom that if something seems too good to be true, it likely is. The scammer, impersonating an attorney from the Federal Trade Commission—a common practice for legitimate PCH prize transfers—duped the woman into believing she needed to cover various costs to claim her winnings. This led her to send cashier’s checks, deposit funds into bitcoin ATMs, and even mail high-end jewelry to the scammer, totaling a loss of $669,500 over several months.

Warning Signs Ignored

It was only after discussing her situation with a friend, who suspected a scam, that the woman contacted Troy police. Despite filing a report and opening an investigation, the likelihood of apprehending the scammer or recovering the funds remains slim.
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Public Caution Advised

This case serves as a stark reminder from Troy police about the dangers of scams requiring upfront payments. Other warning signs included the methods of payment requested by the scammer, such as cashier’s checks and Bitcoin ATM deposits. Troy police urge the public to exercise caution and skepticism to prevent falling victim to similar scams.