Hartselle couple scammed out of thousands in telephone hoax

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Jeremy Smallwood listens as we confront the thieves who have scammed him out of thousands of dollars. (Photo: Al Whitaker, WHNT News 19)

HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A Hartselle couple tells us they’ve been scammed out of thousands of dollars, and the thieves keep calling back trying to get even more.

WHNT News 19’s Al Whitaker is taking action to try to get them some relief and show you how to keep from becoming their next victim.

Jeremy and Bobbie Smallwood had been playing and entering various contests for years. So when they got a call last November saying they’d won millions in the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, they believed it.

“They just kept calling and calling wanting money for what I was supposed to win,” Jeremy tells us.

The hoax literally went on for months with promises of cash and a new car.

“We got ready for them, said they’d be here in 45 minutes, and they never showed up,” says Bobbie.

In all, the Smallwoods were out some $3,500.  But while we were talking with them, the scammers called back wanting more. This time they had to talk to me.

“Hey, hey stupid, listen, can you hear me? Can you hear me, do you understand English?”


“You’re a thief!”

“These people that do this are experts, they’re con-men. That`s what they do for a living. And they’ve found a way to do it where they really can’t be touched legally at least by anybody in the United States because they’re operating from outside the country,” says Lt. Terry Kelly with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department.

Remember, no legitimate company will call you on the telephone and ask for personal information or ask you to send them money.



  • Sherry Farley

    I tried to warn you of this scam! I called the news room when I got the call from the scammers. Now this couple is out all this money! On the other side of the coin… how many times have people been told DON’T SEND MONEY or give out personal info to anyone over the phone! Wake up people!

  • nuclear mike

    “35-hundred dollars”…is this educated journalism or just nothing but slang reporting? But then they did give $3,500.00 to thieves without much thought.

  • Michael

    I don’t understand this at all. Why would anyone agree to give money out on the phone? And then why would you keep giving it out when you’re first prize never showed up? Am I missing something?

  • Lisa

    These idiots called me too with promises of winnings. The first clue is they said they were at my house waiting for me – I was sitting inside and there was no one out there. They called back two days later tried the same ploy and also added on that I had to go get a money card and give them the number. Since I had never entered Publishers Clearinghouse it was a clear scam. Why these poor people kept falling for it is beyond me. I reported this incident to local channels never received any return calls from anyone. When I called BBB they said they knew about the scam and to be aware. Too bad this never made it to the news channels. Might have saved these poor folks some money.

    • Rick

      I dont think the people doing the scamming are the idiots… they just got thousands. They sound pretty smart to me!

    • Concerned

      If the news kept up with all of the scams going on in the world today,they would not have time to keep us informed of Real News in this world!!! People stop blaming the news Reporters for people being idiots!! OMG!!!

  • Bob

    Who’s the stupid one here. The English speaking or the foreigners? If you get scammed then it’s your own hard luck.

  • Rick

    if they are dumb enough to fall for it…. they deserved it. Do people not have any common sense these days?

    • David

      No, people who are “dumb” do not deserve to be scammed, anymore than people who are slow deserve to be run down by automobiles. And to further your education, small children do not deserve to be hit just because they cannot beat you up, and the elderly do not deserve to have their purses snatched. It appears you were never taught these thing. How sad.

  • Bob

    If I were dumb enough to be scammed, the last thing I would do is get the news media involved and show the world how ignorant I was. These phone scams are as old as the hills. NEVER give people money over the phone, period.

  • lukebandit

    Does anyone know a Judy H. Brown in Decatur, AL. If she is the same person, she has almost 40 unclaimed property at the Alabama State Treasury Office in Montgomery, AL. Not a scam! If you have a utility deposit, cell phone contract money that you didn’t get or overpayment of a bill or didn’t get your security deposit back of an apt. or a insurance check or you left a job and didn’t get your last check, BY LAW, in every state, they have to send it to the state in the Unclaimed Property Dept. of the State Treasury. People’s Bank in Boaz, AL several years ago put a huge 1 page add with a list of peoples names that had money that was owed to them. This is not the State looking for you to collect money, this money is rightfully yours! My son had a refund from a cell phone company for $60 and he got it mailed to him, FREE, THEY DO NOT CHARGE! Since he has changed his phone again, he has another $60 refund. I love finding my friends and family money and letting them know so they can claim it. i have found several thousand dollars to people that i know. The website is:
    moneyquestalabama.com Also check under your maiden name and married names. Look up Judy H. Brown and see how many she has.

  • Davie Dunlap

    Those Jamaicans are very persistent. They’ve been calling here for years, sometimes 10 or more times a day. The only way I’ve managed to slow them down (and it only slows them down for a couple of days) is by threatening to contact the authorities in Jamaica. They have even threatened to attack us with guns if I didn’t send them money.

  • Stephanie

    WHNT please be aware of this gentleman. Jeremy Smallwood is nothing but a con artist himself. He has conned elderly women out of their life savings and retirement. Although, I’m sure his accusations of being scammed are true, he was only looking for an easy buck using his elderly mates money. I assure you he himself is not out a dime. Jeremy Smallwood would love nothing more than your news report to strike a sympathetic cord in your viewers hearts in order to receive monetary gain. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not allow your innocent viewers to become his next victim.

  • Johnny

    Easy answer to ALL phone scams and telemarketers, get caller ID and if you don’t recognize the caller let it go to voicemail or answering machine. I only answer calls I know. The phone can ring all day for all I care because the ringer volume is down and I only hear the messages as they leave them. If its someone I need to speak with they know to leave a message and I will pickup if I can or call them back when I can. This phone dependency issue is a huge part of the issue and the solution. If my 92 year old father can do this anyone can. QUIT BEING ADDICTED TO YOUR PHONE.

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