Region 8 Mom & Daughter Outsmart Scam

August 30, 2007 - Posted at 9:18 p.m. CDT

LEACHVILLE, AR -- We've been hearing a lot lately about people being scammed.  Whether it's through the internet or over the phone, victims have been learning lessons the hard way.  But one Region 8 mother and daughter knew when they got a suspicious letter; some things are just too good to be true.

"It was a $2,740 check in the mail and we needed to call them to see what we were supposed to do and so we did and we talked to the this guy and he said we needed to deposit it into the bank," said Brenda Barger.

When 17-year-old Nikki Barger received a check in the mail and a letter telling her she had won $56,700, she and her mother Brenda were excited.  But it didn't take long before they realized something didn't add up.

"If you've got to send money back, something isn't right. If you've got to send somebody money, then something isn't right," said Brenda.

The letter was from Megabox Lotto Commission and claimed to be sponsored by Publishers Clearing House and Reader's Digest.  The international promotions program wanted the Barger's to call North American Claim agent Brian Walters for further instructions.

"When I talked to the guy, my mom called him and he wanted to talk to me to get permission for her to talk to him and stuff and I thought that was kind of weird because if I would have won, they wouldn't have let me get the money because I'm not 18. So I kind of thought something was up when it happened like that," said Nikki.

Brenda says Walters told her to cash the $2,740 check and return $2,640 in order to claim $56,700 in prize money.   Instead, she took the check and the letter to a bank, where she learned it was a scam.

When she called Walters back, it was an interesting conversation.

Brenda explained, "I said why are you doing this?  And he told me he had to work; he said he had to work."

"When she told me about the phone conversation in which she talked to him, that's when I got mad. I called him back and I was getting mean with him. Because that's not right for him to do that, say he has to make money someway.  He needs to get out and get a job like everyone else," explained Nikki.

"I think they need to be fully investigated; I think something needs to be done. There are a lot of people out there that might have thought they really won that," reminded Brenda.

K8 News tried contacting Brian Walters at the number listed on the letter and was unable to get in touch.  The number was registered to a landline in Toronto, Ontario.  The address on the letter is marked from the Virgin Islands.