Lottery Scam

I think most people dream of what they would do if they won the lottery. That mortgage hanging
over your head would be paid off, a new car would be setting in the driveway, or maybe even
a long overdue vacation would be planned. But, in reality, the odds of winning the lottery are
about 6 million to 1. Scam artists depend on these dreams to pull off lottery scams. Here’s an
example we received recently from one of our readers.

I live in Canada and I sure wish I had read your article about lottery scams before I became
involved. The thought of winning $10,000,000 in US tax free dollars for just a small fee was
just too good to pass up. All I had to do was call an 800 number and join a group that played
lotteries throughout the world. I was told that by joining the group my chances of winning would
go from 1 in 6 million to 1 in 6. Unfortunately, I decided to sign up for the membership that
came along with a monthly fee that, supposedly, went toward tickets. That was the beginning
of the end. Soon after I agreed to participate I received a package in the mail that contained
a document that had to be signed and returned confirming the credit card purchase of the
membership. To be honest I didn’t really see anything wrong with it. What I later found out was
that the form made it impossible for the bank to become involved and issue charge-backs for any
amounts charged against the card by that vendor. To make matters worse, when they suspected
I wanted to drop out, to keep me involved, I was told I had won. To receive the money, however,
I had to pay an up-front fee for bank costs for them to wire the money to my account. Again, I
didn’t really see anything suspicious about this since I know that it costs upfront money to send
a wire and it is often based on a percentage of the amount sent. I said this was okay and wired
the amount requested to the account number they gave me but, of course, I received nothing in
return. After a week or so and calling the 800 number I had been given only to get a recording,
I finally reported it to the authorities and was told I had been scammed. I was told that few
con artists that run lottery scams are caught and, even when they are, little is recouped. In one
case a telemarketing company was forced to pay $900,000 in restitution, but only a third of that
money was split between the 2,700 victims that had complained. The truth was that many more
than that had been caught in this sham. It’s true what they say that nothing in life is free. I sure
wish I had used more common sense before I became involved in something I couldn’t get out of.
I just thought your readers might want to hear a true story from someone that became a victim.

Lottery scams are a $120 million industry today. Not only through the internet, but the postal
service and the phone service, these illicit schemes are growing in number on a daily basis. As
with many scams, if it sounds too good to be true it is. It’s important to remember that, even
when a third party is used, it is illegal to buy lottery tickets from another country. Additionally,
in scams that involve pools, only about 7% of the money is actually ever used to buy tickets and,
should a winning ticket be purchased, the proceeds go to the scammer and not the group.

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