Scam of the day – January 29, 2014 – The scam artist only rings once

“The Postman Always Rings Twice” was a classic movie from 1946 that was remade in 1981 starring Jack Nicholson.  Perhaps the postman always rings twice, but scam artists only need to ring once to hook you into a scam that can add hundreds of dollars to your phone bill.  The scam starts innocently enough with a call to your cell phone from a number that you don’t recognize.  However, before you have a chance to decide whether or not to take the call, the caller disconnects the call after only a single ring.  Curiosity, it is said, killed the cat and curiosity can end up turning you into a victim of a scam because if you call back the number, usually from an area code you will not recognize, in this particular scam you will end up calling a premium rate telephone number for a service such as music, psychics or even pornography that will result in your incurring a charge on your phone and the longer you stay on the line, the higher the charges will be.  Many of these calls are originating from various Caribbean islands, such as Antigua, Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Grenada.  The scam started many years ago in Jamaica where the area code is 876.

TIPS

Don’t fall prey to your curiosity.  It could end up costing you money.  If you are tempted to return a call that hung up after just one ring, Google the area code and if the call originated in a foreign country, particularly one from a Caribbean country such as Jamaica and the infamous 876 area code, you should not return the call.  Consider yourself lucky that you have dodged a scam attempt.  The safest and best thing to do if you do get a call that disconnects after just one ring is to just ignore it.

Scam of the day – January 27, 2013 – Jamaica lottery scam update

Those of you who read this blog on a daily or regular basis are familiar with the Jamaica lottery scam, about which I have written a number of times and with good reason.  Jamaica has been a hot bed of phony lottery scams, victimizing unwary Americans for ten years.  It has been estimated that Jamaican scammers operating phony lotteries have stolen more than three hundred million dollars from Americans over that time.  Generally they way the scam operates is that you are told that you have won a lottery (that you never entered), but that you need to pay some administrative fees before receiving your huge prize.  The victims pay the fees, but never get the prize. The notice that you have won the prize generally comes by way of a phone call from the 876 area code.  Scammers in Jamaica make as many as 30,000 calls each day to the United States telling people.  they have won a non-existent lottery.  Although Jamaican officials have recently become increasingly aggressive in trying to shut down these scams, the Senate Special Committee on Aging is now investigating the scams with an eye toward determining what actions need to be taken to shut them down.

TIPS

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 – July 29, 2012 – Jamaican lottery scam update

As I have described in earlier “scams of the day,” Jamaica has become a hub for international lottery scams that have particularly targeted the elderly in America.  The scams have been done by phone calls from Jamaica telling unwitting victims that they have won a lottery, but that they have to pay various fees and taxes connected with the lottery in order to collect their prizes.  As you should expect, the victims may pay the fees and taxes asked of them, but they never receive a prize.  it has been estimated that this scam has been going on from Jamaica for about five years and have resulted in people in this country losing about 300 million dollars in the past year alone.   Now, however, through joint efforts of American and Jamaican law enforcement, arrests have been made, most recently two high ranking government officials, Kingston Deputy Mayor Michael Troupe and St. James Councillor Sylvan Reid.

TIPS

If you receive a telephone call from the area code 876, which is the area code for Jamaica, don’t even pick up the phone.  As with any lottery, it is hard enough to win a legitimate lottery that you have entered; it is impossible to win a lottery that you have not entered.  It is also illegal to play foreign lotteries.  Finally, you should never have to pay fees to collect lottery winning and taxes are either deducted from your winnings or you pay them directly to the IRS.

Scam of the day – May 20, 2012 – Jamaican lottery scam update

On May 8th’s “scam of the day” I warned you about the Jamaican lottery scam.  For the past few years Jamaica has become a center for telemarketing scams, particularly phony lottery scams.  As usual, you are told that you have won a lottery that you never entered, but that you have to pay administrative fees or taxes in order to collect your prize.  I am happy to report that this week the efforts of a joint police effort of Jamaican and American law enforcement resulted in eight arrests and the seizure of money, jewelry, flat screen television sets and luxury cars.

TIPS

Always be wary of contests telling you that you have won contests that you have never entered.  You will not have to pay administrative fees to collect prizes from legitimate lotteries and income taxes are either deducted from your prize or you pay them directly to the IRS; they are never collected by the lottery sponsor.  It is also a good idea to be skeptical of any telemarketing offers that come from the area code of Jamaica which is 876 which has turned into a scam center.