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Text message scam offering $150,000 of Oneida couple's Powerball winnings spreads around Green Bay area

Posted at 7:35 PM, Sep 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 20:35:37-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — There's a chance you've gotten a text claiming to be from Wisconsin Powerball winners Tammy and Cliff Webster.

One message says the couple is donating $150,000 to 100 random people.

"Wouldn't we like to live in a world where Tammy and Cliff were sharing their million-dollar lottery winnings," Administrator for the Wisconsin Division of Trade and Consumer Protection Lara Sutherlin said.

That's not the case with a new scam text that's asking some Green Bay area residents for their name, address and phone carrier to claim the prize.

"This is a basic fishing attempt and they take all different forms," Sutherlin said. "They usually come in the form of an email or a text."

After messaging the number, we were told "congratulations" for winning $150,000. But the scammer asked for more details like date of birth, email address and monthly income.

"They partner it with real facts and real time about something that's happening to give it that air of truth," Sutherlin said. "And then they send out thousands of these."

We also called the scammer's number, and there was no answer.

"They get a little bit of information from here, they get another little bit of information from there, and they put it all together," Sutherlin said.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, 115 official lottery scam complaints have been filed since November of 2020. And 15 are about this particular case.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office gets complaints daily.

"A lot of times when it's reported after the fact, it's nearly impossible for us to get their money back," Captain of Professional Standards Jody Lemmens said.

If you fall victim, law enforcement says you should report it. It can help educate the public about how these scams are happening.

"The only way to make money is in the honest way," Lemmens said. "So if you're looking to do it like this, chances are you're gonna be at a higher risk to be scammed. So please, you have to be the first line of defense for yourself."