Scammers try to steal more than $10,000 from Lincoln area woman

PLEASANT DALE, Neb. - For a brief moment, Raine Weyers thought she'd just won $953,000 and a $216,000 Mercedes Benz.

"I thought, 'Finally! It's my time!" she told 10/11 News.

Unfortunately, it wasn't her time. Weyers quickly realized she was being scammed. The phone call came Tuesday afternoon from an 876 area code.

"They didn't even call me by name, they had to ask for it," she said.

The caller claimed to be from the Publisher's Clearing House. Weyers said they told her the information, then gave her a number with a 518 area code to call to redeem her prizes.

That's when she said she went into detective mode. She called the number and played along. The person on the line told her all they needed was one-percent of the total value to process her winnings. Other than that, she said they told her the government taxes would be paid in full. Her cost: a whopping $11,690.

Luckily, she knew what was happening.

"They told me I couldn't have it if I didn't pay the one percent," she said. "Then I said, 'I guess I'll just live happily ever without it."

With Tax Day in only two weeks, the IRS is warning people of an uptick in scams. According to the service, in 2016 there was a 400-percent increase in phishing scams during tax season. It's important to know the IRS will never call or reach out over the internet and demand immediate payment.

If you've received a suspicious phone call, there are smartphone apps, like Hiya, where you can enter a phone number to see if it's been flagged for scams or fraud.