I-Team 10 consumer alert: A new twist to an old lottery scam

Posted at: 07/19/2013 4:30 PM
Updated at: 07/19/2013 4:50 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

It’s a new twist to an old scam that continues to lure people in. Con-artists have come up with one more way to deceive potential victims of foreign lottery scams.

I-Team 10 receives calls from viewers about lottery scams all the time. Most of the callers say they did not get involved because it looked suspicious but every once in a while, someone gets mesmerized by the money.

In this case, the victim was contacted and told he won the lottery but had to pay the taxes up front. The postal inspectors say he sent in every dollar he saved for retirement.  

U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Larson said, “He said the folks, ‘I don't have any more money to win’. Part of the catch, I'm going to help you out as long as you pay me back some of the money."

Here's the twist: the con-artists told the victim they have sponsors to get him more money. But postal inspectors say the sponsors were actually just different victims of the same scheme who were directed to send their money to the original victim. Larson said, “So, instead of sending money directly to Jamaica, they would send money to our victim."  

The move helped the con-artists perpetuate the scam. Larson said, “It's more legit because they aren't sending it to another country."

Here's the golden rule -- you never have to pay money to collect winnings. If you are ever asked to do something like that, it should raise a serious red flag for you.

If you feel like you've been targeted, call I-Team 10 at 585-232-1010 – we are here to help.