There is nothing new about phony lottery scams. They are one of the most prevalent and common scams every year preying upon both the greed and the lack of knowledge of their victims who often don’t stop to consider how it is impossible to win a contest that you don’t even enter. Often the scam involves the victim being called on the telephone and conned into sending the scam artist money for tax payments or administrative fees although ultimately, the victim receives no prize as promised. However, what distinguishes the Area Code 876 scam, so-named because of the Area Code for Jamaica where this latest contest scam is based is that these foreign scammers threaten their victims if the victims stop sending money. Using Google Earth, the scammers are able to describe the victims’ homes and threaten them with harm as if they were nearby. They also threaten physical harm unless the victims continue to pay. To make things even worse, these scammers also repeat another common scam technique by also contacting the victims pretending that they are law enforcement and seeking to help the victims when all they are doing is seeking to victimize them again through direct theft or through identity theft.
Don’t take any calls from the Area Code 876. Don’t ever get into conversations on the phone with anyone who tells you that you have won a prize. You haven’t. Report such calls to law enforcement and the FTC. It has been estimated that this latest Jamacian scam has stolen as much as a billion dollars from its victims in each of the past few years.