Sheriff: Elderly Washington County man duped in scam

A local man has been scammed out of more than $750,000 since 2012 by a company claiming he needed to pay taxes on a $9 million lottery win, officials said.

The name of the Washington County man, described as “elderly,” is being withheld for his protection, said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

Sometime in 2012, the man was called and told that he won $9 million in a lottery from an unspecified company in another state, Mincks said. The company informed the man that he needed to pay a processing fee and instructed him on how to send money to them to do so, Mincks said.

The scammers told the man to obtain a cell phone, instructing him to give the number to them and no one else, so they could contact him as needed about his winnings, Mincks said.

Over the past two years, the scammers came up with many reasons why the man needed to send more money to them, Mincks said. Those reasons included paying taxes, processing fees, handling fees, and others, Mincks said.

The largest single shipment of money the man sent was $138,000, Mincks said.

The Washington County man lost in excess of $750,000 to the scammers before he alerted authorities that he believed he was being scammed, Mincks said.

The man kept “meticulous records of the amounts sent, where the money came from, and where it was sent to,” he said Friday. The stack of documents for deputies to process in the case is approximately eight inches thick, Mincks said.

Those with elderly parents or neighbors should be alert for scams of this nature, and be ready to intervene on their behalf, Mincks said.

“Once these scammers have someone hooked, they just keep coming back for more,” he said.

People are advised to be alert for repeated phone calls received by an elderly family member, especially those made on a cell phone or where the family member will not talk about who was calling, Mincks said. If possible, review the savings and checking accounts of elderly family members, being alert for large sums being sent to places, he said.

If you suspect a family member is being scammed, call the local sheriff’s office immediately to report it. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 376-7070 and the Wood County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at (304) 424-1834.