Earlier today I got a phone call from a man claiming to be from the city I live in. He said I had randomly won a sweepstakes from a pamphlet I filled out while shopping some time ago, and I would have to go to an office location with my partner in tow to pick up a scratch card that would have one of three random prizes which we would leave with at no charge. This call immediately sent up a lot of red flags for me:
- I asked him "what's my name" and he spent several seconds typing before answering (but he did know it).
- He refused to elaborate where his office was beyond a street name I've never heard of and insisted his manager would email me after the call with instructions on where to go specifically.
- The company name was "The Great Center" or something.
- Asked me some strange demographic questions like "you said you are between X and Y ages and you live together with your partner, is that true?" (this sounds like info anyone could buy from e.g. google ad services)
- He asked me "does this zip code sound familiar?" and listed one sort-of close to where I live.
- He claimed I won by filling out a slip while shopping but couldn't tell me where it was from, instead listing many chain stores.
- Claimed to be from my city but seemed snippy and frustrated when I asked him about the weather: "Does it really matter? I could google it in a few seconds."
- Finally, the biggest red flag: he claimed I or my partner filled out the card with my name and number back in 2019 in one of these businesses, but I did not live in this city at all in 2019!
Based on all this, I figured it was probably a scam of some kind and hung up. What I don't understand is how it would have gone from the email stage. Is this a common scam and if so, how does it work? I searched on this site and google for scam explanation posts, but couldn't find any about a sweepstakes cold call, and most of the time scams involve getting the mark to send or receive some money of some kind, so I think this might be different, but I'm not sure how it works.