The man had been told by scammers that he had won a sweepstakes in the Philippines, and that a host was covering some of the costs for having the money sent to the U.S., but that he would have to pay a portion.

Personnel from Chase Bank in Mount Shasta alerted an 89 year old man last week to what turned out to be a scam that nearly cost him $6,000, the Mount Shasta Police Department said.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, the MSPD responded to the bank and met with a man who was attempting to withdraw $6,000 from an account, said MSPD Lieutenant Joe Restine.

“He was reluctant to speak with us because of an alleged non-disclosure agreement with an attorney’s firm out of Massachusetts. which matched the area code for the phone number calling,” Restine said.

The man had been told by scammers that he had won a sweepstakes in the Philippines, and that a host was covering some of the costs for having the money sent to the U.S., but that he would have to pay a portion.

“He was given the number for the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and when he called the number the person on the other end told him that is was probably a scam. Then they came back to tell him that he owed him an apology, and that it was only the second time in eight years, but confirmed that he indeed did have $500,000 coming to him,” said Restine.

The man had already sent an unknown amount of money via Western Union to pay fees and what he believed was required insurance on the check that was being sent by courier to Medford, Ore., MSPD said.

After he paid, he was told that delays in the flight had caused the insurance on the check to expire and that he would have to pay for additional insurance in the amount of $13,500, or Transportation Security Administration would not let the courier through with the $500,000 check.

“Luckily, we showed up and told him it was a scam, and after a lot of work, were able to convince him of it by calling the real FTC,” said Restine. “Had the money been withdrawn, it most likely would have been sent Western Union out of the country and would have been gone. Each time money is sent the next step for the scammer is to come up with another reason to need more money, such as taxes,” Restine added. “If more money is sent, the scammers will continue the scam until the victim runs out of money or confronts the scammer.”

Restine commended the bank for their work in stopping the scammer. He called attention to a few key things to look for that usually indicate a scam.

• If you won, but didn't enter

• If they give you numbers to call and you can’t verify the number

• If you have to pay to collect winnings

• If they tell you that you can’t tell anyone

Elders, 65 and older, fall prey to an estimated $3 billion dollars a year to scammers, said Restine. Victims are most commonly intelligent, educated, successful people. It is also estimated that only 1 in 24 who are scammed will report it out of embarrassment or fear.

“There are hundreds of scams out there and the perpetrators appear professional and convincing,” said Restine.

“If you have elderly friends or family, especially those without internet access, please take some time to help educate them on all the types of scams that are out there,” he said.

For more information about scams and how to prevent being duped, go to www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts