North Augusta woman reports scam artists

It started with a letter from a psychic promising to lift a spell in exchange for money.


She shredded that letter and the few that followed last summer.

Then a call came in May from an "Omar Brown" congratulating the 75-year-old North Augusta woman on her recent winning of $1 million.

Brown's request for a $675 handling fee immediately tipped off the woman to the scam and she hung up. That was just the beginning.

When the woman turned down Brown 14 times, she got a call from a "Mr. Anderson" with the "International Business Bureau" who claimed Brown was a legitimate caller.

She reported them to North Augusta Public Safety.

When a North Augusta Public Safety officer talked with "Brown," the caller reportedly threatened to come to the officer's home and the police station with "army guns," a report shows. The calls continued from Jamaica, then Fort Lauderdale, Fla., then from phone numbers with 706 and 803 area codes.

On June 5, she got a $3,679 check in the mail from Readers Consultants Inc., which required a call to "activate" the check. She brought a copy of the check to the police department.

Another 27 calls followed after that, including a woman from "RC Trucking" who said she needed an $80 fee for a delivery.

By the time the victim called North Augusta Public Safety again last week, she had received more than 40 calls from the scammers using a variety of ruses.

"It was absolutely overwhelming," said the woman, who asked not to be named for fear of more phone calls.

She had no clue why she was targeted specifically.

North Augusta Public Safety's Lt. Clay Swann couldn't speak to the specifics of this case, but said it's easy to get someone's address and telephone number.

"This isn't unusual," he said.

This particular victim was smart enough not to cave in to the caller's demands. She said the caller pleaded and even pretended to cry about losing his job when she wouldn't send money.

In one instance the caller apparently tried scare tactics, threatening to call the attorney general and Internal Revenue Service. The woman's response: "Good."

When a Chronicle reporter tried calling the local numbers, one was a recorded message in Spanish asking for an authorization number and the other was alternately busy or no one answered.

Swann said people should be leery of anyone who asks for money in exchange for money. Neither should anyone pressure you to make an immediate answer over the phone, he said.

He stressed that it's important not to give out a date of birth, Social Security number or bank account number over the phone.