Central Arkansas Woman Scammed Out of $24,000

JACKSONVILLE, AR -- A popular scam in Jacksonville is catching people off guard and it cost one woman more than $20,000!

A pre-paid debit card -- known as a green dot card -- is used in the scam.

A person calls, claiming you won something like the Publisher's Clearing House or the Jamaican Lottery, but first you must use the card to pay off the taxes.

Once that's done though, your money is gone and so are your chances of becoming a millionaire.

82-year-old Bonnie Russell got a phone call -- this week -- she won't soon forget.

The reporter asked, "When did you know it was a scam?"

She said, "When he first opened his mouth. When he said $2 million and a brand-new car!"

But Russell played along anyway hoping to get the stranger on the other line in some trouble.

She said she told the caller, "I'm trying to get a hold of the Attorney General and see if this is a legitimate gift and he just hung up."

Russell didn't fall for the scam, but just a few weeks ago another elderly woman did.

Jacksonville police say criminals got one woman for $24,000 by asking her to pay for taxes on a large money prize with a pre-paid debit card.

The scammer asks for a code on the back of the card and in minutes the money is gone.

Jacksonville Sgt. Richard Betterton said, "Most of the time when you win something you don't have to pay for it."

And Russell said, "They're doing this to people who can't afford it."

Russell says she's glad she didn't fall for the scam and warns others if it sounds too good to be true, just hang up.

Jacksonville police say in the past month they've received an increase of calls from people getting conned in lottery or Publisher's Clearing House scams.

Typically those cases are handed over to the Attorney General's Office, because the caller is almost never from Arkansas.

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