Metro East woman outsmarts scammers, police warning others to be - KMOV.com

Metro East woman outsmarts scammers, police warning others to be on lookout

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ALTON, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

A sweepstakes scam is popping up in the area, and News 4 is warning readers to keep an eye out. The story came to our attention after a Metro East woman got suspicious when she received a letter in the mail claiming she won millions of dollars.

“I am not a sucker!” said Beverly Steinfeldt with a laugh. “I may be older but I'm not a sucker!”

Steinfeldt never thought in her wildest dreams she'd be a millionaire overnight, so when the message arrived claiming exactly that, she was skeptical.;

“$2,500,000 sounds like a pretty good deal,” Steinfeldt said. “Except you know that it's too good to be true.”

And indeed it was. The letter claimed it was from the Publisher's Clearing House, and the envelope had no return address. Inside, there was a check for $8,500.70, so Steinfeldt called the number on the letter to get answers.

“When I called it was, ‘hello?’ It wasn't professional at all, so I knew there was something fishy.

Her lawyer did too. They contacted the bank listed on the check.

“They had already closed the account because it had been going on since May of 2015,” Steinfeldt said. “[They said] that there were so many fake checks that they had to close the account.”

Had Steinfeldt deposited the check in her account without confirming it was real, and then spent the money she believed was there, she would have been on the hook for that cash. Worse yet, if she had called and ended up giving personal information to the scammers over the phone, she would have risked losing even more. 

Unfortunately Alton Police detective Emily Hejna says her department warns about these and similar scams year round.

“If you get something like this in the mail that seems too good to be true, it probably is,” Hejna said. “If you get something you feel is fraudulent you can contact the Publishers Clearing House or whom you believe sent you the info.”

It’s information Steinfeldt says she's glad she knew, but she can't help but think, “what if.”

“I have health problems myself. I sure could use that money,” she said with a chuckle. “I could hire someone and go on a trip and get out of this cold air.”

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