Action Line: New lottery scam offers 'winners' a new car
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Thursday, September 20, 2012
9/20/12 at 4:36 AM
Dear Action Line: A new version of the "international lottery winner" scam is going around that I'm sure will snag some folks. A man calls and says you won a car in the lottery that will be delivered when you wire the taxes. Heard about this? - C.T., Tulsa.
This new variant of the age-old scam is reported ongoing in Arkansas, prompting Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to issue a consumer alert to ensure Arkansas consumers avoid it and to reassure them they need not expect visits to their homes by flimflammers. The same scam is likely to appear in Oklahoma as well.
"Fortunately, despite assurances from scam artists, no one is going to show up at your door," McDaniel said. "This is only an effort to get hard-working consumers to wire money to criminals but consumers will not receive cars for doing so."
McDaniel's Consumer Protection Division has received many complaints in the past month on the scam, its calls originating from the 876 area code (Jamaica), even though they appear to be U.S. numbers.
Consumers answer the calls and callers state they have won the lottery and the lottery organization has representatives in their areas to bring new vehicles to their residences. But consumers first must wire money to pay fees and taxes associated with their "prizes."
The scammers' goals are to make the pitch believable by promising new cars would be delivered within minutes, prompting consumers to wire money they will never see again. Actually, the calls are made randomly and callers have no idea who they are calling or where the consumers are located.
Consumers who receive such calls should write down the number the call apparently originates from and report this to the consumer protection divisions of their home states, McDaniel said. Oklahomans who receive such calls should complain to tulsaworld.com/OKAGcomplaint
Attorneys general receive hundreds of calls every year about "international lottery" winnings. Most often, consumers receive notices regarding their supposed lottery wins through the U.S. mail or email. Consumers are nearly always told to wire a sum of money as a processing fee to receive lottery winnings, which never arrive.
McDaniel said consumers should always remember that wiring money is like sending cash and once it is wired, it's impossible to get back. That's especially true when wiring money to a foreign country.
July 26, 2012, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a consumer alert about the standard "global lottery scam" tulsaworld.com/OKAGgloballotteryscam involving fraudulent, official-looking lottery letters and emails claiming recipients won a "Western Union accredited government lottery." These notifications ask recipients to wire money or share personal information to collect their winnings."
Pruitt's website warns, "Legitimate lottery or sweepstakes organizations do not ask for money up front before awarding prizes," and "It is a violation of federal law to participate in a foreign lottery by phone or mail. No legitimate foreign lottery organization will solicit U.S. consumers in this way."
Original Print Headline: New lottery scam offers 'winners' a new car
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