TAZEWELL, Tenn. (WATE) — A Tazewell man lost close to $4,000 after a scam call told him that he won a sweepstake.
When you live alone or disabled, unable to work and live on a very tight fixed income, you might tend to believe the polite-sounding people on the phone who convinced you that the dream you have always had of “striking it rich” has come true.
Kenneth Jordon lives on a limited budget at a small rental home in Tazewell. The former cabinet maker is 63 years old, a widower and disabled due to heart disease.
He received a call last month from a man claiming he was with Publishers Clearing House.
“I thought, I’m rich!” Jordon said.
Instead of collecting his riches, Jordon was sent on a wild goose chase. Twice he traveled to his local Walmart to wire money.
“When he first called he said, ‘Are you sitting down? You’ve won $3.5 million.’ This is James Morgan, that’s the guy that started all this. They said that it was so much money that they had to get it registered to bring it into Claiborne County. And then they started wanting money so that they can get that done,” Jordon said.
He saved receipts of the money he wired, unknowing that it was a scam.
“I’ve sent him $2,400 the first time and that was supposed to be to the lawyer.”
Jordon wrote down the lawyer’s name, David Branham.
“After a while, we was talking every day. They was calling me every morning and everything. Making sure to tell me to have gas in my car and everything. They were real nice,” Jordon said. “They wanted that tracking number.”
Jordon said he was reassured by the “friendly callers” that his prize money was real. He ended up giving the caller $2,000 for the supposed $3.5 million prize.
With further directions, Jordon returned to Walmart to get another $1,000. When the delivery truck drives up to his home, a check written for $9,500 is enclosed in the special package.
“When the FedEx truck rolled in, I really thought that’s when the check come in. I really thought man, he was real. I’ve won that much money. I had to go in and sit down for a minute,” he said.
Figuring they could get even more money from Jordon, the scammer, calling himself Morgan, urged Jordon to deposit the check at his bank but tell no one about it.
Jordon told the manager at First Century Bank all about the check and “supposedly winning those millions.”
“He is my hero because he told me, he said, ‘Ken, they’re scamming you man so don’t send them no more money,'” Jordon said.
He borrowed the money that was wired so he had to pay it back.
“If they say, ‘You want money?’ And you send them money, it is a scam … They can trick older people,” he said.
Publishers Clearing House issues these warnings, “PCH does not request payment or fee to collect your prize. No legitimate sweepstakes company will ever ask you to send money to claim your winnings. Beware if you receive a check and are asked to cash it and send a portion back, the check is not real.”
“Don’t do it. Please don’t do it. Cause you’ll never hear from them. If you are sending them money and they know you’re fixing to come down on them. They’ll cut out on you,” Jordon said.
If you have been contacted by a scammer, file a complaint with the National Fraud Information Center at fraud.org. Unfortunately, if you have wired money, it’s likely you won’t get your money back. These types of payments are immediate and typically irreversible.