A scammer or group of scammers is currently active in Brunswick County, North Carolina (United States).
Here's how they operate: They telephone people whose landlines are listed in the phone book, and tell them they've won a sweepstakes -- a million dollars and a new car. Even if the target says "I know this is a scam, stop calling me," they will keep calling. They will call repeatedly and unrelentingly, 5 times a day or more.
If the target engages them at all, they will ask (and pressure) the target to buy a $300 Visa gift card and mail it to a P.O. Box address.
A relative of mine recently lost $300 to this scam. Although she knew it was a scam, she believed that if she sent the $300, the scammers would stop the unceasing phone calls. In this case, upon receiving the $300, the scammers called back and told my relative to leave the garage door open so they could deliver the car she'd "won." She did not do so.
Details of the situation have already been reported to local law enforcement. The police department says these scammers move around, mostly in locations where there are many retired and elderly people. They use disposable, prepaid cell phones to make their calls, and change P.O. boxes frequently. They especially prey on people who may be suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's or other dementia, who are easily confused.
The police did not think the scammers would come to their victims' homes, despite the "leave the garage door open" portion of the spiel. To me, it sounds like they might be considering branching out into burglary.
So if you, a relative, or a friend lives in an area with a high population of retirees, be aware of this scam. Be especially aware if you know your friend or relative is easily confused.
Tell people you care about, if they ever get a call where someone is asking them to send any money or give any personal information, they can call you for advice. And tell them if anyone pressures or threatens them to get them to send money, they can and should report it to the police. If anyone keeps calling them many times a day after being told to stop, they should also report that to the police.
If they start getting a lot of unwanted phone calls, help them get in touch with their phone company. They may be able to set up a whitelist of people that can contact them (friends, family, church, doctor, etc.), and block all other calls.
Scammers are always despicable. But those who prey on the elderly, who manipulate people because they know they're easily confused -- they get a special place in hell.