Phone calls originating in Kingston, Jamaica informing victims that they have won between $1-2 million dollars in lottery winnings is plaguing Morgan County, GA reports the Morgan County Citizen. Local victims have already been scammed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. These scams are by no means confined to Morgan County. Always beware of any suspicious phone calls claiming that you have won a prize overseas. With all American lotteries you never have to pay to claim a prize, taxes and other fees are deducted directly from your winnings. In most states, all prizes under $600 can be claimed at a local authorized lottery dealer, prizes above $600 must be claimed at your local state lottery headquarters. Here’s the story from the Morgan County Citizen.
Bilked out of more than $200,000: Jamaican lottery scam hits Morgan County
The phone is ringing, and you may be bilked out of your life savings.
A Jamaican-based lottery scam has blind-sided Morgan County and, so far, local residents have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.
While there may also be mail or e-mail involved, the sheriff’s office has received reports of county citizens receiving phone calls from scammers – originating in Jamaica, oftentimes the capital, Kingston – falsely informing locals that they’ve won prize money, typically between $1 million and $2 million. Scammers may or may not also include a car as part of the prize as well, according to Sgt. Michael Ghioto, with Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Criminal
Investigations.The catch? In order to get the prize over the U.S. border, you have to pay a small fee. The scammers ask their victims to go to the bank and withdraw money – amounts often range from $300 to $3,000 – and wire it via Western Union, which allows money to be picked up most anywhere in the world, to them.
“They’re very persuasive,” Sheriff Robert Markley said. “Once you make it onto this list, they’re relentless.”
Apparently, the scammers – who seem to target the elderly as well as people of limited means – get to know their victims over the phone, make them comfortable, talk about being Christian and persuade the victim into discussing personal issues. They then use the information they’ve gleaned to appeal to how much these winnings could help with housing, college funds, even medical bills.
And once money has been sent, the phone calls never, ever stop.
“They’re [the victims] very trusting people,” Markley said. “You can’t outsmart [the scammers]; it doesn’t mean the victims are gullible, [the scammers] are just very persuasive.”
And, at the end, the scammers turn to violence, threatening their victims’ lives, the lives of the victims’ families and friends, the safety of the victims’ house, etc.
Americans have lost more than $30 million to the scheme, which has been in place for more than a year now.
The sheriff’s office is currently working on two cases. In Morgan County specifically, more than $200,000 has been lost, according to the sheriff’s office. In fact, one resident alone lost $150,000. Read the whole story…