Some Bay County residents tell News 13 they have received phone calls about a mysterious prize give away. That is raising eyebrows and they wanted News 13 to check it out. So we did. Details in this Problem Solver.
For Panama City Beach resident Betty Cox…it started recently one morning about 8:30 and a strange call from a man who according to Ms. Cox, "This man just bubbling over with joy calling me by my first name...(and said) I just want to tell you that you are the winner of a new Dodge Durango."
Ms. Cox says she was confused trying to figure out what was going on. She says, "he said you are not very excited..I said no, maybe I would be if I got the keys." Cox says she had not entered a contest to trigger the call. Another person then came on the line and, "First thing she said was are you married? I said no...so immediately she said you don't qualify."
Ms. Cox was able to give News 13 the 800 number from that "free Dodge Durango" call. We called that number…finally got to a real person on the other end. But she was very reluctant to provide information on her company...where they were based and what they were exactly doing. She then hung up the phone.
Checking the internet brought complaints regarding a bogus similar contest that date back to last year and beyond. It seems the winning Dodge prize (for a Durango or other vehicle) calls can come from different phone numbers. Add another potential scam to the list for Bay County authorities.
Major Tommy Ford of the BCSO says, "If something sounds too good to be true…then it probably is." Major Ford said that in addition to the calls News 13 told his office about…one of the sheriff's office investigators had received a similar call. According to Major Ford, "it is not normal somebody is going to call you and say you have won a free truck unless you have entered a contest." And, Major Ford says the calls can sound like, "If you will give me your name and social security we will deliver that truck. Obviously you will never see that truck and your credit cards and accounts open in your name and you become a victim of identity theft."
If you have information regarding scams in our community, contact the Bay County Sheriff's Office at 747-4700.