A MEGA MILLIONS lottery scam stole $10,000 from a woman after she was approached by suspects at a TJ Maxx store, police say.
Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police are currently investigating the shocking theft that took place last month.
The victim was approached at the TJMaxx store in Block 20900 of Frederick Road. in Gaithersburg, Maryland on April 10.
Two suspects approached the woman and asked if she spoke Spanish.
When the victim confirmed this, they asked her how to get to a nearby church that helps immigrants, police said in a statement press release.
The press release said: “Eventually the victim, suspect one and suspect two decided to get in the victim’s car and continue their conversation.”
“The suspect begins to cry as she reveals that she won a mega-million lottery ticket but was unable to claim the prize due to her undocumented status.”
The two suspects then called the third suspect, who pretended to work for the “lottery company” and told the suspect that if she had “guarantors,” her winnings could be claimed.
However, the third suspect explained that the “guarantors” would have to go to an office with “about $10,000 each” in cash.
According to police, the second suspect eventually exited the car and returned within 20 minutes with $10,000 in cash.
When the victim was asked if she could pay another $10,000, she went home to get the money and put it in her glove compartment.
“At that moment, one of the suspects complained of abdominal pain and asked the victim to go to a pharmacy,” the police press release said.
“The victim goes to the pharmacy to buy medicine and when she comes back about three minutes later, the two suspects are gone, taking the $10,000 from the glove compartment.”
While the investigation into this case is ongoing, investigators suspect that the individuals targeted by this scam are “elderly/vulnerable victims”.
Detectives urge the public to be vigilant about their surroundings and be aware of this type of scam.
In addition, investigators are asking anyone with information about the suspects or this particular scam to call the 5th Circuit Investigative Division at 240-773-6237.
Anyone with information is also welcome to contact Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
And anyone who provides information leading to the suspects’ arrest will be rewarded with up to $10,000.
The Sun contacted the Montgomery County Police Department for updates on the case, but received no immediate response.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Mega Millions issued an alert on how to spot the latest lottery scams.
The advice reads: “They are as old as lotteries themselves – scams that fraudulently use a lottery’s good name to steal your money.”
“Many of them fraudulently use the Mega Millions® name and logo and promise big prizes to people who receive official-looking emails, texts, or random calls from good-natured (and very convincing) operators.”
“As with all lottery scams, these scammers attempt to trick consumers into believing they have won a grand ‘prize.'” They are in no way affiliated with the real Mega Millions game, although they do use our name and/or logo and sometimes use the name and logo of other legitimate organizations to sound even more official.”
The Mega Millions notice reminds players that the game is only sold in the US and that the only way to win is to buy a ticket from participating American lotteries and then match some or all of the numbers to a specific draw.
“There are no random Mega Millions prizes anywhere in the world that are awarded based simply on phone numbers, email addresses or social media accounts,” the statement concludes. “Most importantly, there is NEVER a fee for claiming a real lottery prize. If you are asked to pay money, it is fraud.”