ROGERSVILLE — A Rogersville woman who was tempted with a phony sweepstakes scam via Facebook message Sunday morning figured out it wasn’t legitimate when the sender asked for money.
Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said Wednesday it’s not uncommon for sweepstakes scams and other types of scams to be solicited over the phone, mail, or email, but this was the first case he’s heard of where the scam was solicited on Facebook.
Lawson added that anytime someone asks you for money or personal information, more than likely it’s a scam.
Kathy Ward of Rogersville told the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office that on Sunday morning she had received a message on Facebook from someone using the name “Banky Rharo Jr.” stating that she was the winner of $200,000.
Ward told HCSO Deputy Bobby Moffitt that she gave Rharo her name, address and phone number, but no information about her banking account.
Rharo indicated to Ward he needed $1,500 in cash to start the process so she could receive her prize money.
“Ward stated she told him she did not have the money, he should take it out of the winning,” Moffitt stated in his report. “Rharo told her that was prohibited and he couldn’t do that. Ward stated he told her to lose her information.”
Lawson said most of these scams originate out of the country, and they use technology to hide the origin of the messages.
One important tip to avoid being scammed is if you didn’t sign up for a sweepstakes, you didn’t win a sweepstakes.
“These type scams are becoming very common over the telephone, email and in the mail, but this is the first time I’ve heard of it on Facebook,” Lawson said. “But regardless of how it arrives, anytime they want money to activate your prize, it’s a scam. No legitimate sweepstakes or lottery is going to ask you for money.”
Anyone who believes they’ve received a scam message is asked to report it to their local police department.