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Woman, 85, loses $29K to sweepstakes scam
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If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The public is once again being given this reminder by the office of the San Joaquin County Sheriff as it continues its investigation into the case of an 85-year-old woman who recently lost $28,921.00 to an international sweepstakes lottery scam.

According to the police report from the Sheriff’s Office, the unidentified female victim received a telephone call from someone named Julia Goodman who told the octogenarian county resident that she just won second place in an international sweepstakes lottery. The suspect also told the victim that her total winning was $500,000.

However, for the elderly victim to receive her winnings, she has to send money via Western Union money transfer to a broker in Manila, Philippines. The unsuspecting victim did as she was told and wired money transfers to the Philippines eight different times between May 19 and May 24 totaling $28,921.00.

When deputies investigating the case tried to make contact with the suspect Goodman, the telephone call was answered by a “receptionist who had a female’s voice.” The receptionist told the deputies that “Goodman was not in her office and could not accept a phone call.”

This incident prompted the Sheriff’s Office to provide the following safety tips to the public when they are dealing with a possible scam.

How to avoid fraud and scams
According to the Sheriff’s Office, con artists are not always easy to spot. They are smart, extremely persuasive, and aggressive. They invade your home through the telephone and the mail, advertise in reputable newspapers and magazines, and come to your door. Most people think they are too smart to fall for a scam. However, con artists rob all kinds of people – from investment counselors and doctors to teen-agers and elderly widows of billions of dollars every year. It’s up to you to say no. Use common sense and learn about old and new scams.

Here are some quick tips to avoid becoming another victim:
•Don’t let greed overcome your common sense.

•Be wary of the following – high-pressure sales, demands for ‘cash only,” pressure for quick decisions, secret deals, and no-risk high-yield investments.

•Get a second opinion from someone you trust.

•If you believe that someone is attempting to defraud you, report it to your local law enforcement agency immediately.

•Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For more crime-prevention tips, log on to the San Joaquin County web site at