A Peninsula man was told in a scam phone call that he won a $1 million prize — and then told he’d be shot in the head if he did not take steps to claim the sham prize.
The man, who lives in unincorporated Redwood City, called authorities Friday about the common scam that turned scary, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said.
A scammer from Jamaica, who called himself Peter Myers, had called the victim repeatedly for months saying he represented the “Prize Patrol.” Myers tried to get the man to wire $300 to Jamaica, which the scammer said was needed in order to deliver his prize of $1 million.
The calls from Myers came as frequently as three times a week for up to six months, sheriff’s deputies said. On Friday, one phone call became too alarming to ignore.
“The victim said the person threatened to shoot him in the head if he did not pay,” deputies said.
A deputy went to the victim’s home and called the scammer’s phone number, which had been provided by the victim. The phone number had an 876 area code, which is from Jamaica, where the suspect wanted the victim to wire the money.
A male answered that phone, the deputy said.
“After identifying himself as a deputy sheriff, he asked the man if he threatened the victim,” the deputy said. “The suspect replied that he was going to shoot the deputy in the head, too. The caller then disconnected.”
A few minutes later, the scammer called the victim and the deputy answered. The caller thought the deputy was the victim and asked why he had called police.
“The caller insisted that he wasn’t going to shoot the victim and again went through his attempts to get the victim to send him $300 so that he could deliver the prize,” the sheriff’s office said.
The sheriff’s office has used the scam incident as a warning to Peninsula residents regarding scam artists.
“Remember: Never pay money with the understanding you are going to receive money — you won’t!” it said.