Scam of the day – February 18, 2015 – Jamaica lottery scam extradition

Regular readers of will remember that I have written about the Jamaica lottery scam for more than three years.  Jamaica is a hot bed of phony lottery scams, victimizing unwary Americans for more than ten years.  It has been estimated that Jamaican scammers operating phony lotteries steal more than three hundred million dollars from Americans annually.  Generally they way the scam operates is that the targeted victim is told on the telephone  that he or she has won a lottery (that they never entered), but that the victim needs to pay some administrative fees before receiving the huge prize.  The victims of this scam pay the fees, which can run into thousands of dollars, but never get the prize. The telephone call generally comes from the 876 area code.  Scammers in Jamaica make as many as 30,000 calls each day to the United States telling people that they have won a non-existent lottery.  Although Jamaican officials have recently become increasingly aggressive in trying to shut down these scams, it wasn’t until now that the first scammer has been both indicted by an American grand jury and extradited by Jamaican authorities to the United States, where the accused scammer, Damion Bryan Barrett is facing charges of 37 counts of wire fraud.


As always, the best place to look for a helping hand is at the end of your own hand. Here are a couple of important things to remember.  You cannot win a lottery or contest that you did not enter and it is illegal for Americans to participate in foreign lotteries in the first place.  In addition, if your caller ID shows that you are receiving a call from the Jamaican area code of 876, you should not even answer the call unless you have a friend vacationing in Jamaica.  Don’t fall for this scam.

Scam of the day – March 18, 2013 – Jamaican Lottery Scam update

Lottery scams are one of the most popular scams for scam artists because they work so effectively.  They start when you receive a telephone call telling you that you have won some lottery, usually based in a foreign country.  Soon thereafter, however you are told that you need to pay either taxes or administrative fees.  The victims of this scam end up paying thousands of dollars in phony fees and taxes, but never receive a dime of lottery winnings.  The island of Jamaica has become a hotbed of this type of scam with daily calls to the United States totaling more than 30,000 and as much as 300 million dollars stolen  last year alone from unwary victims, many of them senior citizens.  The problem has gotten so bad that the U. S. Senate Special Committee on Aging had hearings last week about how to stop this scam.  The Jamaican government has recently passed new laws with the intention of cracking down on this scam, but with government officials in the past having been actually a part of this scam, it remains to be seen as to the extent of the Jamaican government’s commitment to stopping this scam.

It is hard to win a lottery you have entered.  It is impossible to win one that you have never even entered.  A little skepticism can save you a lot of money when you are told that you have won such a lottery.  It is also important to note that it is illegal to play foreign lotteries.  If you receive a telephone call from the 876 area code, the area code for Jamaica, you may wish to not even answer the phone unless you have family vacationing in Jamaica, because there is a good chance that if you have no connection to Jamaica, the person on the other end of the line is a scam artist.  In regard to income taxes on lottery winnings, they indeed are subject to income tax, but either the lottery sponsor deducts taxes from your winnings or leave it to the winners to pay their own taxes.  They never collect taxes.  Legitimate lotteries also do not charge you administrative fees before you can claim your prize.  If you are told that you must pay money, under whatever guise they use before you can claim your winnings, the lottery is a scam.