Woman victim of scam

News Publisher

The woman sometimes cried as she told her sad story. She was the victim of a scam, and she told her story to keep others from making the same mistake – hopefully.
We won’t publish her name. She lives in Bratt. For the purpose of this article, we’ll call her XYZ.
Her story began January 11 when she got a phone call from “Publishers Clearinghouse.” She had won millions of dollars and a brand new car. The caller, “James Diamond,” gave her some numbers over the phone and told her to write them down. One set of numbers was for the car, the other for $2.5 million or $200 million (we were unclear on the amount). Then he told her she would receive $7,000 for life. She would get another call which would explain everything.
“James Wiseman” called. “You’ve probably seen me on TV,” he said.
He told XYZ not to tell anyone about her winnings, that when he delivered her car, they didn’t want anyone at her house except her and her husband.
“He kept saying, ‘Don’t tell anyone,’” XYZ said.
Wiseman told her he would be at her house that Friday to deliver the car and give her and her husband $7,000 each. She couldn’t believe they were going to get $7,000 each. But he didn’t show up that Friday. Instead he called and told her to go to a dollar store or a drug store and get a vanilla gift card. He specified a vanilla card which is a prepaid reloadable Visa card. He emphasized a vanilla card. When she asked why she had to do that, he told her he was going to put $14,000 on the card, and he told her to call him and give him the card number when she had gotten it. He also said she had to put $250 on the card. When XYZ told him she didn’t have $250, that she had only $50, he told her to put $45 on the card. She did that. She called him with the card number.
The scammer told her he was on the way to her house with her car on a flatbed. He was on the other side of Jay, Fla., but she told him she lives in Bratt. He said that was no problem, he could find her. That was at 10 a.m., but by 5 p.m., he still had not shown up. But he called her and said he wouldn’t make it that day.
But he told her he had to have $450. When she protested, he said, “Ma’am, you’re going to be a millionaire. You don’t have anything to worry about.”
She borrowed $500 and put $450 on the gift card.
On January 15, he told her he wanted $1,300. Again she protested, but he said, “You can’t get something for nothing.”
“I thought about my friends and family and church family and how much I could help them [with the winnings],” XYZ said.
She couldn’t borrow $1,300. She could get only $800. She put $250 on two cards and gave him the card numbers.
She heard from him a couple of more times, and she had become quite upset. He told her to calm down.
“I realized I had been taken,” she said, and she called the police. A deputy with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office came to her house to talk with her.
The last time she talked with “Wiseman” was Tuesday after MLK Day. She called him and told him, “You should be ashamed. The devil’s gonna take care of you.” Then she realized there was no one on the other end of the phone – it was a recording.
XYZ regrets the money she lost, but knows in her heart her intentions were good.
“I wanted to help people,” she said. “They’ve been so good to me. I wanted to give back to this world.”
She encourages others to speak up when they have the victim of a scam.
“People don’t speak up. They’re ashamed,” she said. “I’m not ashamed. I’m just hurt.”