Unbelievable - Consumers Falling For Lottery Scams In Increasing Numbers
09 Sep 2006
[Note from Editor - I'm due to launch a new blog to supplement the site and investigate this ongoing problem of lotto scams - it defies belief]
More than 400 New Yorkers have fallen victim to sweepstakes and lottery scams in the past seven months with losses ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $35,000, according to an analysis by the New York State Consumer Protection Board.
While elderly people lost the most money, lottery scams also tricked younger people into believing they had won a large cash prize from a foreign lottery or sweepstakes.
In each case, the victims sent money ? usually to Canada -- thinking they had to pay insurance or taxes before they could collect these bogus prizes.
"No legitimate contest makes you pay a fee to collect a prize," said CPB Chairperson and Executive Director Teresa A. Santiago. "For many of the elderly victims, the scam artists made multiple demands for cash, falsely claiming that more money was needed in order to pay for 'taxes' or insurance."
Sons and daughters have filed complaints after failing to convince their elderly parent that there was no prize.
"You can't win a contest that you didn't enter. But it's hard to convince someone that they are the victim of a scam, especially when the con artists have made numerous phone calls and formed a bond with the victim," Santiago said.
"Elderly victims will receive phone call after phone call or multiple letters and emails, each promising that the large cash prize will soon be delivered," said Santiago. "But there's always another delay and always a demand for another payment."
Another common scam involves the mailing of a bogus check.
The recipient is told to deposit the check in their bank and then wire a smaller amount back to the scam artists. Several days later, the bogus check bounces and the victim's money is gone.
Once someone loses money in a lottery scam, their name, address, phone numbers and other personal information are sold, leaving these consumers vulnerable to another scam.
Many people, especially senior citizens, have been victimized by more than one sweepstakes scam, according to the CPB.
"The only way you can win with these phony contests is to not respond to them," Santiago said.
Associated Link: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/09/ny_lottery_scams.html
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