Woman arrested for sweepstakes scam

Published 8:19 am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A 59-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with a fake sweepstakes scheme.

The Greenville Police Department has charged Katie Sims, 59, with criminal impersonation after she allegedly took part in a the scam.

According to authorities, Sims was informed over the phone that she had won a sweepstakes and that in order to claim her prize she needed to mail personal checks to certain addresses that were provided by the caller.

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Police say that Sims mailed checks ranging from $3,700 to $4,000 to various addresses. The checks were written on a closed account.

“She believed that once she did that she would be paid by the sweepstakes company, which obviously didn’t really exist,” Lt. Justin Lovvorn said. “When she went to that extreme she incurred criminal charges on herself by representing herself as someone or something she was not.”

Lovvorn said sweepstakes schemes, and similar schemes, are fairly common.

“Most people don’t get sucked into them, but we see a lot of schemes like this,” he said. “They’re pretty easy to spot. If you know you didn’t initiate it, and you can’t verify the sweepstakes company as being a legitimate business, it’s something you need to stay away from. By taking part you’re either going to get in trouble or lose money.”

Lovvorn said if anyone is contacted by a company and suspects it may be a similar scheme, the person should contact the Greenville Police Department at (334) 382-7461.

“We’ve seen a lot of these and will probably know if it’s legitimate or not,” he said. “If we don’t, we have resources we can tap to find out.”