May 28, 2013 at 11:58 am
North Dakota's top two prosecutors say telephone lottery scams have reached epidemic proportions in the region.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon said in a joint news conference Tuesday that the schemes often target the elderly and other vulnerable citizens.
Callers are told in a typical scenario that they have won an international lottery with a cash prize of $2.5 million and a new Mercedes.
Stenehjem says he himself received a similar call and the scammer persisted even after he identified himself as attorney general.
Fifteen people were charged recently in federal court for a Jamaican-based scam that targeted victims in the Dakotas.
Purdon says the fact that it was the first combined news conference for the two men "underscores the importance" of the issue.