A 70-year-old woman recently lost tens of thousands of dollars in two separate scams, according to Kennewick police.
The elderly woman, whose name was not released, received a call Oct. 4 from someone named "Debra," police said. The caller said the woman had won $1 million and a new Mercedes through a Publisher's Clearing House drawing.
The caller reportedly told the victim not to tell anyone about the winning because people might try to take her money.
The caller told the victim she needed to make payments in order to receive her winnings, police said. The victim was told she needed to buy prepaid debit cards and give the caller the account numbers.
The victim reportedly bought between 45 and 50 prepaid debit cards to give to the caller, police said.
In an apparent second scam just days later, a male caller contacted the victim on Oct. 7 and told her she owed $10,000 to the IRS, police said. The caller told the victim to send a $10,000 money order to a man named Todd Jenkins in East Hartford, Conn. The woman apparently sent the money.
The next day, "Debra" called again and told the woman to wire money to a Wells Fargo account, police said. The victim reportedly wired the money to the account.
The woman was scammed out of "several tens of thousands of dollars," police said.
Anyone who wants to report scams can contact Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers at 509-586-8477, 800-222-8477 or go to www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org.