Scam artists target local residents

by Brandon Richards

For Ragley resident Chelsea Hillebrandt, it sounded too good to be true.

In August, Chelsea received a letter from a company called ABC Financial, LLC. The letter said Chelsea had won a shopper's lottery. Included with the letter, was a check for $4,700.00.

The check looked real to Chelsea, so she decided to follow the letter's instructions and tried to cash the check at her bank.

The letter told Chelsea once she cashed or deposited the check, to wire $3,000.00 to another location. This money would be used to pay off government taxes from the lottery.

But before she could do that, Chelsea's bank refused to cash the check.

Chelsea tried calling ABC Financial, but had no luck get through.

KPLC 7 News also attempted calling the company, but no one ever picked up the phone.

Cameron State Bank Vice-President Garland Prejean sees a lot of scams similar to the one Chelsea almost became a victim of.

"Customers receive these and they bring them to us, thinking they won the lottery or are going to be entered into a sweepstake," Prejean said.

The Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau says more scams are on the rise, and with the struggling economy, more people are falling for these kinds of money scams.

The Better Business Bureau says legitimate lottery companies send only certified letters. They also note that it is illegal for American citizens to participate in foreign lotteries.