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.
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.