Posts Tagged: ‘foreign lottery scam’

Scam of the day – August 12, 2013 – Global Processing Inc lottery scam

August 12, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Lottery scams are one of the most effective scams and with good reason.  Who wouldn’t want to win a lottery?  One of the lottery scams presently being reported begins when you receive a letter from a company called Global Processing, Inc. although I should caution you, this same scam is done under other names, as well.  The letter informs you that you have won a large sum of money, such as $250,000 and also comes with a check, sometimes certified for $4,686 to help you pay the required processing fee of $3,250 in one version of the scam presently being circulated.  The check looks good and if you deposit it, your bank may appear to indicate to you that the check has cleared in a few days so you can feel confident sending your own check for the processing fee.  However, banks are required to give only provisional credit after a few days and when the counterfeit check ultimately bounces, the bank removes the money from your account and you are left having sent your own money, usually by wire, to a scammer.

TIPS

It is very hard to win a lottery.  It is impossible to win a lottery that you have not entered.  If it is a foreign lottery, it is illegal for Americans to play foreign lotteries.  As for the crux of the scam, no legitimate lottery requires you to pay processing fees and if they were going to provide money to you to pay for the fee, why wouldn’t they merely deduct that amount from your winnings?  It just doesn’t make sense.  Don’t let greed blind you from common sense.  The payment of a check in an amount more than is due and then asking you to pay the difference is the basis of many variations of this scam.

Scam of the day – January 2, 2013 – Phony sweepstakes and contests

January 2, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

January is a big month for phony sweepstakes and contests although, quite frankly, every month is a big month for such scams, however, January leads the way because many legitimate sweepstakes and contests declare their winners in January.  Often the scam starts when you receive an email or a regular mail communication congratulating you on having won a contest or sweepstakes that you never even entered.  You may next be told that you are required to provide some personal information, such as your Social Security number in order to claim your prize, or you are told that you have to pay the sweepstakes sponsor income taxes on your winnings or you are required to pay some administrative fees in order to claim your prize or perhaps, you even receive a bank check that is the first installment of your winnings; you are then told to deposit the check and pay taxes or administrative fees back to the sweepstakes sponsor from the first check.  In all of these scenarios, you are in serious jeopardy of identity theft or being scammed out of your own money.

TIPS

The first thing to remember is that you never win a contest you did not enter.  That, right away, should be enough for you to recognize that the contest is a scam.  Many of these phony lotteries appear to be foreign.  Participating in foreign lotteries is a violation of federal law and, again, the chances are pretty substantial that you are hearing from a domestic or foreign scam artist, not from a legitimate foreign contest sponsor.  If you provide your personal information, such as your Social Security number to the scammer, you will end up a victim of identity theft.  It is true that lottery winnings are subject to income tax, but the sponsor of a legitimate contest either deducts the taxes from your winning directly  before you receive your money or,  most commonly, they give you your winnings and it is your responsibility to pay the income taxes.  They don’t collect income tax payments from you on behalf of the IRS.   As for that legitimate looking bank check that you might receive, it is a forgery.  Federal law requires banks to give provisional credit to cashier’s checks or other forms of bank checks by the next business day after the check has been deposited.  However, this credit to the depositor’s account is merely provisional and when the check eventually bounces, which may take weeks, the victim loses the credit for the money he thought he was depositing into his account as well as the money that he paid from his own bank account to the scammers.  Most people don’t know what provisional credit is so when it appears to them that the deposited check has “cleared” they think they are safe when they most assuredly are not.  If you want to investigate a check’s legitimacy, contact the bank that it appears to be written from and inquire as to whether it is legitimate.  You will find that it is not.