Congratulations!! You won the lottery! What lottery? Oh, some lottery in a foreign country. Australia, Austria, Africa, doesn’t matter. The point is, here’s a letter telling you that you have won $5.2 million! Immediately you’re thinking, this can’t be for real, right?
You read on. A total cash prize of $43 million shared between 77 winners. Contact the claims agent. And there it is – a phone number. Well, it can’t hurt to call…can it?
The bogus lottery jackpot continues to be one of the most popular forms of mail fraud. The scam begins with a piece of great news. You are a winner. And we’re not talking a $10 scratch card. It can be millions or even tens of millions of dollars.
Whatever the amount, the letter will pique your curiosity, because, let’s face it, when was the last time you won anything? And as the poet wrote, hope springs eternal. At this point, any nagging practical questions you might have (How is it possible to win a lottery you never entered?) will conveniently disappear as you start planning that dream trip to Jamaica.
When you contact the claims agent, things can go one of several ways. For instance:
- You have to provide your checking account number in order to have your winnings transferred.
- He tells you they’ll send you a check, but you have to wire money to “insure” the check.
- In order to receive your windfall, you’ll need to make a payment. Let’s call it a processing fee. Or maybe it’s to cover taxes in the country where the lottery was held.
Oh, by the way, you need to keep the whole thing hush hush until your claim is processed. And act immediately. Within the next hour, if possible.
You mull it over. What’s a $900 processing fee compared to $5.2 million dollars? Did we mention Jamaica? Large drinks with small umbrellas? Tropical breezes? You can’t wire that money fast enough. Then you sit back and wait. And wait.
The prize money never materializes. And your $900? Gone.