Most of us can say that we have a pretty good sense of judgment when it comes to avoiding being duped into some crazy scheme, but can you say that for everyone you know? Some people will do just about anything for human contact, even if that means associating themselves with a scammer without even realizing it.
A scam that’s been around since the 90s, the Jamaican Lottery Scam, similar to the Lucky Winner Scam, is a shameless scam, sometimes targeting the elderly, that tricks consumers into believing they’ve won a sweepstake (i.e. Publishers Clearing House, Winners International, Mega Millions).
Warning Sign 1: Upfront Fees
Once a scammer has reeled in a victim, they inform them that they can redeem their winnings as long as they pay a few upfront taxes or fees. No biggie, right? Think again.
Warning Sign 2: Constant Calls
After the victim has sent or wired the initial fees, the calls start coming in. One tactic scammers use to build trust and fulfill their requests is by building a personal relationship with their victims. They will continue to call, informing them that each payment is not enough, they’ve misplaced the check, or they never received the wired payment. They continue requesting considerable amounts before the victim can receive their winnings, and, in some instances, threaten the victim with violence if they do not pay or decide to “share their situation” with loved ones.
Warning Sign 3: Major Loss
As the victim pulls out large sums of money, they don’t realize that they are close to losing all their savings or retirement. The feds call this “being under the ether,” which is when a victim is willing to do almost anything to receive their prize.
Warning Sign 4: Family Intervention
Family members may notice their loved one’s strange behavior or unexpected banks transactions. If they are lucky, family members could be contacted by the victim’s financial establishment before it’s too late. After thousands of dollars have already been sent, families take action and attempt to freeze bank accounts and cut phone services.
Tips to Avoid the Jamaican Lottery Scam
Before you or a loved one gets roped into this scam, here are a few ways to educate yourself and those close to you on how to avoid becoming a victim:
• Scamming’s their name, spoofing’s the game
Research has shown that a number of Jamaican Lottery Scams originate from area code 876. However, scammers have caught on to this giveaway. They are now spoofing different area codes, thereby increasing the likelihood of potential victims to pick up as they assume the call is local.
•If you didn’t enter, you didn’t win
If you or a loved one question whether or not you entered a lottery, that you have supposedly won, it’s a sure sign that you did not. Hang up immediately!
•You don’t pay for prizes
First things first, if ever a caller requests upfront payment of fees, do not give them any personal or financial information. Legitimate lotteries will never ask winners to pay fees before they receive their prize.
•Keeping a secret
Who wouldn’t want to share the amazing news that you’ve won such an amazing prize? I would, but the Jamaican Lottery scammer doesn’t want you to share the good news until you’ve received your prize, which is NEVER!
Be sure to inform your loved ones of these types of scams and why they should be skeptical about such requests.
For a more in-depth look into the Jamaican Lottery Scam, check out this extensive report by CNBC by clicking the video below: