As of late, advance-fee frauds have had somewhat of a resurgence. Last week I was contacted about one such scam, purported as “The National Lottery”.
This scam is gaining some serious momentum. Word is that people are positively responding in record numbers. It won’t be long until other scammers join the fray.
To the layman, it works like this:
Email or postal spam is sent out in bulk. The message tells the recipient they’ve won millions in a lottery, and that they must contact someone, who then claims that they have to pay a processing fee in order to claim their winnings.
Of course, there are no winnings, the con-artist is simply after the funds involved with the so-called processing fee. The mark pays the fee to a foreign account (usually Nigeria). There will be zero chance of ever recovering those funds.
In other cases, the scammers just use the credit card numbers supplied to them to go on Internet shopping sprees.
If you’ve fallen for this scam, there’s nothing I can do from my chair as a private investigator to get your money back. Notify your credit card company, the FTC, etc.
There’s even less I can do to help stop people from falling for these cons in the first place. Not that any of the people contacted in these scams actually enter in a foreign lottery, but it’s an interesting bit of trivia that it’s actually illegal for US Citizens to enter foreign lotteries.
I’ve written before about how some of the most popular cons today are just variants of time-tested, old cons.
In general, if something sounds too good to be true, it is.
Help find runaway Michael Ryan Peterson
An example from “The National Lottery”.
Not only is this a complete scam, but international lotteries are illegal in the United States.