Police: Woman bilked out of $500K

HOLLIDAYSBURG – A Hollidaysburg woman was scammed out of a half million dollars over a four-year span, according to state police.

State police at Hollidaysburg report that the woman received mail in 2010 that informed her she won a prize, and after she responded, she was called by a male caller with a Jamaican or Caribbean accent.

The caller told the woman to send money to collect the prize, and over the course of several years, she was called up to 20 times a day and encouraged to send more money.

Police said the woman transfered money time and again to the scammer, who each time had an explanation of personal problems or business issues as the reason the prize was never sent.

A total of $500,000 was sent through wire transfers unti the scam was reported to police on March 29.

State police want to stress to the public that a free prize is free, while illegal scams tell people that the payment is for taxes on the prize. Police note people should never give out personal information over the telephone unless dealing with reputable firms.

Police also remind people not to be rushed into anything, and the more a caller tries to hurry a person into buying or sending money, the more likely the caller is a criminal.