OCEAN PINES — A 96-year-old Ocean Pines resident has been bilked out of $40,000 in an Internet sweepstakes scam, but authorities at least have some leads in what are typically long-shot cases.
Ocean Pines Police Chief David Massey this week said the elderly resident of the community had fallen prey to an Internet scam that has unfortunately become all too common. The victim was notified he had won nearly a million dollars in a contest, but needed to transfer money to the scammer in order to collect.
“They told him he had won $950,000 in a sweepstakes and they needed him to send them money to complete the transaction,” said Massey this week. “They asked him to send the money via wire, which is pretty typical for these kinds of scams.”
Massey said the unfortunate victim had fallen prey to a common scam that has popped up in the area in various incarnations in recent years, but what is rather unusual in this case is the large amount. The victim sent via wire two transactions totaling $20,000 each to the unidentified scammers.
“Anytime someone asks you to send money via wire, you can assume it’s a scam,” he said. “The same goes for Internet transactions and most transactions over the phone.”