Police in Howard County are warning elderly residents to watch out for financial scams.
The warning comes after an 86-year-old Elkridge man wired $151,000 to cover what he believed were taxes on a fake $1.6 million prize check, police said. Police are investigating the theft and fraud case.
The victim has received letters and phone calls over the last month from people claiming to be from Publisher’s Clearing House, company attorneys or IRS representatives, police said.
The man was sent a fake prize check and told he would be able to cash the check once he paid the taxes and received an activation code.
In the warning today, police passed along the following tips from the The Better Business Bureau:
"No legitimate sweepstakes will require you to pay "insurance," "taxes" or "shipping and handling charges" to collect your prize. You should never wire or send money to anyone, anywhere who says you’ve won a prize.
If the person says you have to take the offer immediately or you will miss the opportunity, it is likely a scam.
Never give out personal banking information, credit card numbers or social security numbers to someone who has called.
If someone calls from a "government agency" requesting money, ask for a certified letter on official letterhead.
Never hire someone who shows up at your door. If you are told your plumbing needs to be fixed, or the roof needs repair, the scammer may take money, but never do the work."