Action 9: Watch out for ‘unclaimed rewards’ scam

CHINA GROVE, N.C. — A China Grove man is warning others about a scam he almost fell for.

John Nicholas told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke that he got postcard in the mail notifying him about an “unclaimed reward.”

“It says an unclaimed reward worth up to $100 is being held in our main processing center, and it’s got a claim number and everything. I mean it looks pretty legit,” Nicholas said.

The mailer said the $100 was for “Wal-mart, Target and more.”

Nicholas called the number that was listed on the card and talked with a woman who asked him for personal information to “confirm his identity.”

“They could have wiped out my whole bank account if I gave them the information,” he said.

Nicholas said the woman also wanted him to pay for shipping, which was less than $2, but she needed his credit card information to cover the cost.

“And I’m like, ‘Whoa, whoa. I’m not just going to give you my card number to verify something,’” he said.

Fortunately, Nicholas didn’t give out any of his information, but he did contact Action 9 to make sure others don’t fall for the scam.

“They keep on and on. I’m sure they’re getting by on somebody,” he told Stoogenke.

Stoogenke offers this advice to help protect yourself against these types of scams:

- Be suspicious of any mail, email or text that offers a reward or prize, especially if it asks for personal information or payment to get it.

- If it’s an email or text, do not click on any of the links.

- Other red flags to watch for include spelling errors, such as Wal-mart instead of Walmart, and bad grammar.

This scam specifically used the phrase “unclaimed reward” but Stoogenke said there is another notice that’s similar but real. If you are notified about “unclaimed property,” that can be money or items the state is holding for you. To check for unclaimed property in North Carolina, click here. To check in South Carolina, click here.

(WATCH: Action 9: Tips to keep your online accounts secure)

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