One Minot couple has lost pretty much everything after falling victim to a scam.

It all began with a phone call from California. A person called the retired Minot couple telling them they had won $1.7 million dollars.

That’s when their nightmare began. They were told to receive the money they had to pay some fees.

“They believed that they were talking to several attorneys. At one point they thought they were talking to a judge. And they just kept sending more and more money. At one point they enclosed cash in pages of a magazine. And were instructed to label it as legal documents,” said Parrell Grossman, the North Dakota director of consumer protection.

Since March the couple paid almost $90,000, borrowing money from family, banks and going as far as to mortgage their home.

“It is a completely fabricated story. There was no contest. They are not the winner. The people they are dealing with are just nothing but thugs and criminals who do this all day long,” said Grossman.

Grossman says there are things you need to know to ensure you do not fall victim to a Prize Notification Scam:

  • If the caller asks for money it is a scam
  • Think about whether you signed up for any contests
  • It never hurts to check with professionals.

“And say I’ve been told I won a prize, what do you think? And we will tell those individuals, ‘Well, we think you’ve just stopped yourself from becoming a victim by contacting the attorney general’s consumer protection division.’ You know. make that call! Trust that feeling in your gut that’s telling you, there might be something wrong,” explained Grossman.

Grossman says this is not the first time a North Dakotan has been swindled out of almost everything they have.

In the past, people have lost millions of dollars to scams just like this one.

Grossman says if you do send money to a scammer you should notify the consumer protection division as well as local law enforcement.