Police warn of phone scam

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Maize, Kan. -- Maize resident Shirley Haley wants the rest of us to learn from her expensive mistake.

Monday afternoon she took a call from a man saying he was from Publishers Clearinghouse.

Haley says the man asked her, "How would I like my prize delivered? Would I like them to come and take photographs while they delivered the money or would I want it private? And I said I would want it private."

But then comes the catch.

The man says Haley must pay the taxes. She says the caller with a strong accent told her to buy Green Dot pre-paid debit cards. She did. The man calls her back to get the numbers to the Green Dot card accounts. The pre-paid card accounts had $2,100.

The 79 year old says, "I've been a business person all my life and I can't believe I got caught and he seemed so logical."

"And then I got caught up with, gee what am I going to do with all this money? I can buy all kinds of Christmas presents and I had all kinds of things going on in my head."

Haley says the scammer then asked her to withdraw $5,000 from two different banks for a total of $10,000 to send to him.

That's when Haley told her son who stopped the process and called Maize police.

Maize Detective Jeff Piper says, "They want money from you up front in exchange for your award. That's going to be bogus 100% of the time. There is no legitimate organization out there that's going to ask for money up front in exchange for your prize."

Detective Piper says these crimes are difficult to solve.

He says, "Most frequently we find that the ultimate sources of these criminal acts are international. A lot of them come out of Jamaica. So it makes it even more difficult for law enforcement to investigate and go after them."

Haley says she believes the scammers like to prey upon older people.

Haley is telling her story saying, "I don't want other people to be taken with this same scam."

Detective Piper forewarns all of us to watch out for anyone calling from this number 716-810-3229. He says don't answer or if you do hang up.

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