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Rip-Off Alert: New twist on old foreign lottery scam

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 8/06/2013 5:42 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- There's a new twist to an old scam that continues to lure people in. In this Rip-Off Alert, con artists have come up with one more way to deceive potential victims of foreign lottery scams.

According to U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Larson, the victim sent all of his retirement savings.

“He explained to me ... I mean who doesn’t dream of winning the lottery?” Larson said. “He was contacted and told you have won the lottery, and in order to collect that prize money you need to pay the taxes to get it out of the country and to the U.S.”

But there is a new layer to the foreign lottery scheme.

“When he ran out of that money, the scammers started explaining to him, ‘Hey, look, we have sponsors here that can help you,’ “ Larson said.

Essentially, the con artists would tell other victims they, too, won the lottery and to send their fee money to the original victim.

“So, instead of sending money directly to Jamaica, they would send money to our victim,” Larson said.

The move helped the con artists perpetuate the scam.

“It’s more legit because they aren’t sending it to another country,” Larson said.

Postal inspectors warn all consumers to remember one rule.

“Foreign lotteries are illegal,” Larson said. “You have to be on their soil to participate in their lottery.”

No legitimate lottery will ever ask for money up front. Also, a legitimate lottery never has fees or taxes that need to be paid up front.


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