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Get Gephardt: New mail scam in Utah could cost you thousands

Oct 17, 2022, 10:15 PM | Updated: Oct 18, 2022, 11:35 am

ROY, Utah — Scammers certainly have gotten more sophisticated over the years. Americans lose billions to cybercrooks every year. So, it may be relatively easy for us to forget some scam artists are still sending letters to their targets via old-fashioned U.S. mail. In fact, a new letter is showing up in the mailboxes of Utahns. If you handle it wrong, it could cost you thousands.

“Don’t get me started, Matt,” Larry Thompson told us right off the bat.

Thompson was all fired up because he knows three people personally who were ripped off after getting a letter similar to the one he just received.

“I’ve seen the sadness, disappointment and the despair because of being sucked into these types of scams,” he said.

The letter he received congratulated him on winning $250,000 — an award for shopping at one of its partnering stores. With the letter came a check in the amount of $2,765.50 — to help Thompson cover the fees, the letter said. For further instructions on claiming his “winnings,” Thompson must call.

So, we did.

“’How are you, sir?’” the representative asked.

“I’m great, I just found out that I won $250,000!”

Data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that scams are getting more costly, with consumers losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud last year, up more than 70% compared to the year before. Scams have, indeed, gotten more sophisticated, with “imposter scams” topping the list. That is where the crook targets you directly, pretending to be someone you know. Still, the old-fashioned mailed bogus check scams remain a crook favorite. “Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries” was the third most common scam reported to the FTC.

“I’m a reporter at a TV station in Salt Lake City,” I told the representative. “And I think that you’re a fraud and I’m calling to find out if you’re a fraud…”

In this case, the guy on the phone told me he was not a fraud and then hung up on me — something people who run a legitimate business would probably not do.

Award letters like this are typically sent out in hopes someone will hand over personal and banking information so the bad guys can steal their money.

Larry Thompson was not duped. His hope in calling Get Gephardt is to do what he can to make sure others do not fall for the scheme.

“I want you to put the word out that this is floating around again.”

If you do get a scam letter like this, best thing to do is not respond. You can also report it to the FTC or the FBI.

You can also report it to Get Gephardt and I will help spread the word. Call 385-707-6153 or email matt@ksl.com.

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Get Gephardt: New mail scam in Utah could cost you thousands