An Industry man called the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office this week after two men came to his house, told him they were federal agents and had him send $1,000 to an address in Jamaica to claim “sweepstakes money.”

When he was asked for more money, the man realized it might be a scam. He was right.

Sheriff Scott Nichols warned residents Thursday to be on the alert.

“Police officers do not come to your house to inform you you’ve won a sweepstakes,” he said in a news release.

Nichols said that “the big concern to the sheriff’s office” is that the men went to someone’s house and showed badges.

“This happened in rural Franklin County Maine. If this can happen here, it can happen anywhere,” Nichols said.

Nichols said that anyone in a similar situation should get a description of the men and their car. A license plate number “would be fantastic.”

The man told Franklin County Lt. David St. Laurent on Saturday that two men showed up at his house last week in a dark sedan, showed him badges and said they were federal agents. They told him he’d won a “sweepstakes in Las Vegas” worth $800,000, and that someone had tried to use his name and Social Security number to claim the money out of Florida. They gave him a number to call and told him he’d be speaking to a “customs agent” named Ivan Peterson.

The man had the impression the two were either FBI agents or customs agents.

When he called the number, a “Mr. Peterson” identified himself as a U.S. Customs agent and told the man he had to send $1,000 to an account to claim his money, which was being held by customs agents in Florida at an airport in Miami.

The man sent the money to an address in Jamaica, Nichols said.

A few days later, the man got another call from “Mr. Peterson,” who said he had to send another $1,250 “which the complainant did not do, became suspicious and called Lt. St. Laurent,” Nichols said.

St. Laurent called the same number the Industry man had called, and a man answered, identifying himself as Ivan Peterson with U.S. Customs, Nichols said.

“St. Laurent told him who him who he was, ‘Mr. Peterson’ maintained that he was customs out of Washington, D.C.,” Nichols said in the release. “Peterson gave St. Laurent the same story he told the original complainant. He even went as far to say that the complainant had been defrauded and he had the FBI come to his house and verify who he was so they could start the process.”

Nichols said that the man on the phone “was very convincing, but when asked questions about the money and why it was in Florida, Mr. Peterson stumbled with his answers and eventually hung up.” Nichols said that the person had a foreign accent.

Nichols said the number came up as U.S. Customs in Washington, D.C., in a White Pages search, and showed the number as originating from Washington. But when it was entered into a reverse directory, the number came back listed as private and White Pages could not access it.

St. Laurent entered the number into and it came up as a scam, Nichols said.

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