Missouri Mom Fights off Scammers

8 years 3 weeks 11 hours ago Friday, April 30 2010 Apr 30, 2010 Friday, April 30, 2010 11:51:40 AM CDT April 30, 2010 in News

Columbia mother Kristin Smith knew she was being scammed when she received a voicemail message from an unknown number that told her she had won $3.5 million.

"I decided to call the number back and do some digging," Smith said.

She found herself talking to a woman who called herself Melissa Stewart. Smith said she asked Stewart some tough questions.

"I wasn't argumentative, but I was skeptical," Smith said. "I asked her how she got my name and number and where the company was based.  She didn't answer any of those questions."

Smith said the woman did say Smith had registered for the prize money at a grocery store. Smith said that never happened.

"They are getting tricky, they know your address and name," she said.

When Smith Googled the company that went by the name American Unclaimed Money Corporation, the company seemed legitimate.

"The website they provided me, which is now unavailable, had the Bank of America symbol on it, it had the Western Union symbol. So, people who are not saavy on the Internet would think that it was a legitimate operation," Smith said.

Smith said as soon as she mentioned she would call her lawyer to speak about the prize money, the woman abruptly ended the phone call and the site she visited is no longer available. Smith said scammers target the elderly and people with disbailities who may be more vulnurable.

"If I can help one person, that's fantastic," said Smith.

The Attorney General's Office reports 90,000 consumer scam alerts and inquiries each year.

 

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