How the scam works:
Similar to the Free Delivery Gift Scam, victims receive a call from someone saying they've won the big prize in a lottery - to the tune of about $800,000 (could be a famous bank draw such as Bank of America, Dream Lottery, Publishing Clearhouse, etc or a charity lottery). The caller will often try to get you excited and sell you on emotional statements like, "your kids are taken care of now" or "your retirement is well-deserved."
If you don't remember entering, they'll tell you someone else might have put your name in the draw, or that you might have even qualified by shopping at WAL-MART or through Medicaid services. In order to receive the money, you'll have to pay the state/provincial tax, something like 5% of the winnings.
Happy to get almost a million dollars, tons of victims send in the tiny 5% to a PO Box, after receiving a "confirmation" e-mail with the details on how the money should be transferred. Victims are also recommended to send the money via reloadable Green Dot or MoneyPak cards.
This scam often targets the elderly and it's reported hundreds of thousands of dollars are lost every year to this one.
In a different variation of the scam, the 'prize' is a car for which victims have to only pay certain small 'fees' on a Green Dot credit card. These phone calls have been reported to come from Jamaica, from a 876 area code.
How to avoid:
You can’t win if you didn't play, so just hang up the phone if you don't remember entering. Beware of these phone calls, especially if the caller has a thick accent. A couple of the phone numbers you should look out for are (876)528.218 and (876)441.0922, both with Jamaican area codes. Just hang up. To avoid falling for MoneyPak scams, you should remember that if you're told you have to pay a fee to collect a cash prize or sweepstakes winnings, you haven't won anything. Never give your MoneyPak number to someone you don't know. Treat your MoneyPak card like cash, as transactions cannot be reversed.
When it comes to text messages, check the content for grammar mistakes. If you take a good look at the picture above you'll see many.
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