March Scams Roundup

Top Scams 2015

The following are some of the scams reported to Better Business Bureau Northwest during the month of March. In most instances names and locations have been omitted to protect the victims’ privacy.


Lottery/Sweepstakes Scam

An Alaska woman reported she received a phone call from a man identifying himself as “Michael Anderson” from a phone with a Jamaican area code. He told her he had a UPS package in Anchorage confirming she had won $5.5 million and a brand new Mercedes. Anderson gave the woman a story that he would bring the check to her and would be accompanied by two FBI agents and a lawyer. He proceeded to ask her questions about her marital status and employment. Anderson never met up with the woman, but did continue to call her. She ignored his phone calls until he stopped.

Tax Scam

An Alaska man reported he received a letter from The State of California Franchise Tax Board stating he owed back taxes from 2008. The man states he has been an Alaska resident since 2006. The letter listed a number that requested his social security number or they would seize his property.


Garage Door Repair Scam

A Portland woman reports she hired a repair man from A Day & Night Garage Doors Repair to fix her garage door. After two days the man never finished the repair, but required she pay $650. The repairmen claimed he fixed the door, however the woman states she had to hire another repairman from a separate business in order to get her door fixed.


Government Grant Scam

An Idaho woman reported she lost $750 to a government grant scam. She said she was contacted by someone claiming she was chosen to receive a grant for $9,000. She was instructed to send $250 via Western Union, after she did that she was told she needed to send $500 in order for the Internal Revenue Service to release the money. After she deposited the additional money they again asked for $100.  The victim then asked for her money to be returned, but the caller refused.

Craigslist Scam

A Boise man reported he lost $3,500 to a Craigslist Scam. The man reports he responded to a posting on Craigslist of a 2006 Toyota Tacoma that was for sell through eBay Motors. The man was informed by the seller that he needed to make a $2,000 down payment using “One Vanilla” cards. He would then be required to pay an additional $1,500 to finalize the transaction. The Boise man purchased $3,500 worth of the cards and sent it to the man. When the seller requested more money, the victim ceased conducting business with him.


Sweepstakes Scam

An Everett woman reported she was notified she had won $150,000, but was told she had to pay a $1,500 custom fee to receive her winnings. She ended up losing $635 to the scheme when she tried to pay the fees to get the winnings.

Instagram Scam

A Lakewood man reported he lost $323.75 after he ordered a pair of shoes and belt from an Instagram user. He spoke to the seller over the phone and was told he’d be receiving a tracking number from USPS. The victim never received the tracking number or the order.

Government Grant Scam

A Seattle area woman reported she lost a little more than $3,400 to a government grant scam. She reports she was contacted multiple times the week of March 22 by someone claiming to be from the U.S. Department of Government Grants. The man, who identified himself as” Gary Watson,” claimed she would be receiving a grant check. In order for her to get the money she was pressured into making multiple deposits to the agency via Western Union.