FLORENCE — Linda Keeton said she was intrigued when she got a card in the mail informing her she had an unclaimed reward.
"I was still suspicious, though," said Keeton, of Florence. "I just had a feeling it was a scam."
She was right.
"There was no return address, just a telephone number and a claim number," Keeton said. "I called the number to see what was going on. I gave them the claim number and was told I had won a $100 gift card from Target or Wal-Mart.
"I thought $100 worth of groceries would be great, but something just told me it wasn't right. Gift cards just don't come in the mail out of the blue."
Keeton said the person she talked to said more information would be coming to her in a few days.
"I didn't have to give a Social Security number or banking information, but I was just uneasy, so I called the Better Business Bureau," she said.
"They told me it was a scam and that I would be asked to provide my Social Security number and financial information."
Michelle Mason, president of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama, said her office often receives reports of the scam.
"It's very frequent, and unfortunately we do have people who will fall for it," she said. "The victims are not asked for information immediately, but they will be at some point, and the information they provide could lead to someone getting into their bank accounts."
Florence police have been notified of the scam.
Keeton said she couldn't figure out how someone would know who she was and wondered "why have I won something that I hadn't applied for."
Another scam circulating locally involves a person claiming to be the potential victim's grandson and needs money to get out of jail.
Thelma Mills said she received a call from a man claiming to be her grandson, Michael, and that he had been arrested for drunk driving in Atlanta and needed $1,200 to get out of jail.
Mills doesn't have a grandson named Michael.
"I called my sister to make sure she wouldn't get hooked by it," Mills said. "The next day, my son got (a call) and he doesn't even have children."
Mason said it's always good to be cautious when approached by someone asking for money or personal information over the telephone.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.