SOUNDVIEW, The Bronx -- Rosa Burns of the Bronx likes communicating on Facebook, so earlier this year she accepted a “friend” request from a man named Wes, who said he lived with his mother.
During the summer, Burns claims Wes notified her about a lottery.
“He said that Facebook is giving away $10,000,” Burns told PIX11 in Soundview, where she lives.
Burns said Wes told her to call a man organizing the lottery, to see if her name was on the winner’s list.
“So, when I called the guy, and I told him my name, he said ‘Yes, Ms. Burns, your name is on the list,” Burns told us.
But there was a catch. Burns told PIX11 the man gave her a woman’s name and address. She was supposed to send a fee, before a UPS truck would deliver her windfall.
“He said, ‘Well, all you have to do is send, like, $100 for the truck,” Burns recalled. “He said, ‘Once you send the check, call me back.’”
Rosa Burns sent the check and called the man, but the check never came. After a few days, the man had disconnected his phone. Burns couldn’t text him.
Greg Pavlides, head of the Economic Crimes Division for the Queens District Attorney’s office, told PIX11 he wasn’t surprised to hear about the scam.
“It changes from week to week and month to month,” Pavlides said. “With Facebook, it’s amazing how much information people put out there to the public.”
Earlier this year, a California makeup artist, Kelly Williams, told our WPIX affiliate, KTLA, that her ‘cousin’ contacted her on Facebook and talked about a lottery prize of $150,000.
“First I said, ‘Really? You got $150,000?’” Williams remembered.
When her relative couldn’t remember the name of his uncle, that’s when Williams got suspicious, and she stopped engaging online with the man.
When PIX11 visited Rosa Burns in the Bronx, she managed to reach her former Facebook friend, Wes, on his cell phone.
PIX11 asked Wes about his lottery claims, and he defensively said, “ I didn’t win no money, miss. I’m broke as hell! Somebody hacked on my Facebook.”
Rosa Burns told us she didn’t believe Wes.
The Queens prosecutor pointed out to us that you NEVER send money to anyone, as a condition of “winning” a prize.