Derby family warning others after sweepstakes scam

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DERBY, Kansas — A family in Derby received a phone call saying they had won a brand new car and $25,000 dollars in cash.

But there’s a catch. They first would have to pay a fee before claiming their prize.

Now the family is telling their story to warn others of the scam.

Lila Harler tells KSN News the conversation started last week when her sister-in-law received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the American Shopper’s Award.

“No, they haven’t called my phone anymore,” said Lila Harler, family was scammed. “If they do I have to change my number.”

Her sister was notified that she had won a brand new 2014 Dodge car and on top of that $25,000 dollars.

“She was excited!” said Harler. “She believe it was going to happen.”

But Harler knew it was too good to be true. Her sister-in-law was told before she could claim her prize she had to pay for a service fee and to do that she had to go to a local store to purchase a “Green Dot” card.

The Better Business Bureau tells KSN News the card is a re-loadable prepaid card. You can load money on the card making it easy to transfer and wire money to anyone in the world if they know the code of your card.

They say, when it comes to taking your cash the card is golden for scammers.

“It’s untraceable and it’s like cash,” said Denise Groene, State Director for the Better Business Bureau. “If somebody does take the money off there it’s pretty had to trace who that person is and once it’s off it’s off.”

The family was scammed close to $800 dollars.

“They made it sound really really convincing,” said Harler. “But what people need to understand is you know for one, unless you see it then it’s probably not worth it.”

Harler says it’s a lesson learned something she hopes won’t happen to someone else.

The Better Business Bureau tells KSN News it’s a major red flag if you’re being told to pay first to claim your prize.

Keep in mind legitimate companies wouldn’t ask for a payment before hand.

If you receive a similar call and are unsure of the company be sure to do some research or call the Better Business Bureau to verify the company and the sweepstakes.

You can reach the Better Business Bureau in Wichita at (800) 856-2417.

If you’re a  senior and are receiving harassing phone calls please call the BBB hotline (877) 637- 3334 for counseling.

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