Man turns table on would-be scammers

Promise of $1.5 million, luxury car proves to be a scam


SAN ANTONIO – A 76-year-old San Antonio man turned the tables on some would-be scammers trying to take his money and the KSAT Defenders were there to capture it all on camera.

It started when Jack Van Vleck got a call saying he'd won a major prize. The caller told him over the phone it was "$1.5 million dollars, sir, along with a brand new Mercedes Benz, sir."

The caller, with what Van Vleck described as a Jamaican accent, told him all he had to do was go to Walmart or a similar store and get a Visa gift card and put $399 on it.

He went to a Walmart off of Loop 410 and bought a card, but only put $20 on it. He did this knowing it was a scam.

The scammer then wanted the activation code for the card that was printed on the receipt.

But Van Vleck would only give him part of the 14-digit code.

On the phone, the scammer demanded more numbers: "Go ahead, don't stop. Go ahead ... why you mess me like this, sir? You stupid?"

But Van Vleck knew that giving out the complete code would give the scammer access to the money on the card.

"I don't like people taking advantage of other people," Van Vleck said. "Especially elderly people."

Then the Defenders stepped in to talk to the scammer on the phone, telling him they knew it was a scam.

Van Vleck ended the call with one parting shot.

"This has really been fun for us to string you ... along," Van Vleck said.

His daughter, Joanna Roberts, helped Van Vleck in all of this and hopes other potential victims will learn from this lesson.

"Whoever is sending you a prize, you do not have to pay for that prize," Roberts said.

Van Vleck said it was fun turn the tables on the scammers and was happy the KSAT 12 Defenders could show this to all of San Antonio.

"I'm glad you guys showed up because you really put the icing on the cake here," he said.

The scammer's phone number was traced to Jamaica.

The family wonders how they got Van Vleck's information and wants people to realize that that information is out there and to watch out for scammers using it.