Carlsbad High School teacher Robert Cope got a little more than he bargained for when a phone scam company blew up his cell phone with 31 calls too many.

On Monday, Cope received his first of many calls from the number (876) 478-7519, which he said apparently was being used by several callers with Jamaican accents.

When he first answered, a man who identified himself as "Jerry" asked him if he remembered filling something out on the Internet and told him he had won second prize from a lottery. His total winnings? $250,000.

After explaining to cope that there was a delivery team waiting in Hobbs to bring him his money, they demanded he take a trip to Walmart and keep it confidential.

The company instructed Cope to go to the customer service desk and purchase a $4.95 Green Dot Pre-Paid Card, a plastic money card that can be used to make payments using a number that's revealed when the user scratches off a number on the back. Cope loaded the card with $205, just like they asked, but made sure not to give out the scratch card number.

When he called the company, they asked for the code to continue with the money transfer and Cope stood his ground, realizing things were a bit fishy.

Cope asked to speak with a manager and they claimed they were a legitimate business who worked with the IRS.

A day and several ignored calls later, Jerry, the man who he had spoke with before, called with a lot to say, and it sounded like he had been drinking, Cope said.


"He called me every name in the book and continued to cuss me out until I hung up," Cope said.

I called the police and they said no crime had taken place and that they couldn't do anything about it, but to encourage people to be aware of the problem, Cope said.

According to the Eddy County Sheriff's Office, these scammers are also claiming to be from Washington and Alabama affiliating themselves with the Mega Millions lottery.

Such scam artists live and work outside of the U.
S. and are difficult to prosecute, let alone identify, according to the ESCO.

Law enforcement officials from the area have insisted that residents stay vigilant and educate friends and family about the scams. The best advice is to hang up the phone if contacted and not provide any personal information, said officials with the ECSO.