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Stringing along Jamaican lottery scammers

Scam AlertScam Alert: Stringing along Jamaican lottery scammers
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It's a little suspicious when the address linked to a call notifying someone they won the Maryland Lottery is in Michigan. Or Ohio.

And Richard Drexel, who has worked in security for part of his career, is no fool. As soon as the call came in for his son, also Richard, the elder Drexel called the Maryland Lottery. No, in fact, they don't call you to notify you you've won — they have other means.

And they certainly don't ask you to pony up $150 to pay for "fees" and "taxes" before you can collect your winnings.

And the lottery would not ask for that money in the form of a Western Union money transfer. (Incidentally, the forwarding address for the money was at first in Michigan, then in Ohio, Drexel said.)

Drexel decided to string the men along a little, have a little fun, after the Mount Airy resident had called the police, of course. The men called five or six times over the course of days, desperate, it seemed, to land a fish. Drexel called me a couple of times recently to let me know how things were going.

In the middle of it all, I asked how long he'd be yanking them along.

"I don't know, I'm having fun now," Drexel said. "I'm wondering how much their phone bill is running up."

The callers had heavy accents, he said. The 876 area code the men called from is Jamaican.

When I spoke to him Tuesday, Drexel said a police officer finally called the men, and when he identified himself, the man hung up. So what did they do next? Go dark? Dump their pre-paid cell phones and disappear?

No. They called Drexel's son back, trying to convince him they weren't trying to pull off a fraud. Then they changed their story; they weren't the Maryland Lottery, but a national lottery. Not that the U.S. has a national lottery.

Not too bright. When the younger Drexel pointed that out, the con man hung up. For good this time.

This is a version of the "advance-fee" scam, in which the scammers try to get money sent by Western Union, which is fast and irreversible. Normally the criminals will say an advance is necessary to pay tax on winnings before they can be released (something they in fact told Drexel).

Drexel told me his offer of a postal money order was turned down -- the fraudsters asked for nothing that had anything to do with the U.S. government. They insisted on Western Union.

And $150 is on the low end of what con artists tend to ask for in this kind of scam. More often it's in the thousands.

"They probably would have strung us out for more if they'd got that," Drexel said.

What is worrying is that Drexel, whose cell phone plan is under his wife's name, has no idea how the younger Drexel's phone number became available to the scammers. Drexel's son hasn't posted it anywhere online.

Legitimate lottery organizations will never ask for money upfront, so there's your second clue (the first being the suspicious addresses). One of the "protect yourself from fraud" tips on the Western Union website states: Never send money to pay for taxes or fees on foreign lottery winnings — doubly so if you never entered a lottery to begin with.

They also have one excellent piece of advice when it comes to scams of all types: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Frederick News-Post

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8 comments. Last comment 4 years ago by KY Floyd.
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Raven62's avatar - binary
New Jersey
United States
Member #17843
June 28, 2005
17936 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 14, 2009, 1:55 pm - IP Logged

Sounds like they didn't take the Investigation to the Federal Authorities: These people are still out there with no hope of catching them: So Watch Yourselves: Their next Phone Call may be to You!

A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

    dpoly1's avatar - driver
    PA
    United States
    Member #66141
    October 16, 2008
    1422 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: December 14, 2009, 2:05 pm - IP Logged

    Great story ........

    Too many people think that they are entitled to other peoples money !

    One person told me that they had the "right" to come to my house and take what they wanted !?!?!?

    As long as governments tell people that they are "ENTITLED" there will be boneheads trying to take from others !

    I don't make much on Disability, but I don't demand what others have - IT IS THEIRS !!!!!!!!

      Avatar
      NASHVILLE, TENN
      United States
      Member #33372
      February 20, 2006
      983 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 14, 2009, 2:06 pm - IP Logged

      We can send men to the moon, set sateliites spinning 22,000 miles above the earth, calculate the orbit of planets light years away from us, but we can't find the owner of a phone number? 

       I believe the difference is one of interest.  Our "police" are not interested in finding scammers, thieves, con artists.  They would much rather put Tiger Woods in jail for many years and fine him thousands for daring to earned as much money as he has.  Success has its enemies and the police soon become one of the enemies of success.

        Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
        Clarksville
        United States
        Member #487
        July 15, 2002
        17593 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 14, 2009, 4:15 pm - IP Logged

        We can send men to the moon, set sateliites spinning 22,000 miles above the earth, calculate the orbit of planets light years away from us, but we can't find the owner of a phone number? 

         I believe the difference is one of interest.  Our "police" are not interested in finding scammers, thieves, con artists.  They would much rather put Tiger Woods in jail for many years and fine him thousands for daring to earned as much money as he has.  Success has its enemies and the police soon become one of the enemies of success.

        You got that right..

        If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

        You never know when you will get another hit.

          rdgrnr's avatar - walt
          -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
          Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
          United States
          Member #73904
          April 28, 2009
          14743 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 14, 2009, 4:28 pm - IP Logged

          We can send men to the moon, set sateliites spinning 22,000 miles above the earth, calculate the orbit of planets light years away from us, but we can't find the owner of a phone number? 

           I believe the difference is one of interest.  Our "police" are not interested in finding scammers, thieves, con artists.  They would much rather put Tiger Woods in jail for many years and fine him thousands for daring to earned as much money as he has.  Success has its enemies and the police soon become one of the enemies of success.

          Police are more interested in revenue enhancement nowadays than pursuing criminals. They're too busy putting up red light cameras and speed trap cameras all over the country to be bothered with fighting real crime - there's no money in it. The real money is made by squeezing it out of mostly law-abiding taxpaying citizens right here in the good old USA. It's a lot less dangerous too.


                                                       
                               
                                                   

           

           

           

           

                                                                                                             

          "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                      --Edmund Burke

           

           

            ToadSchmode's avatar - aquas1

            United States
            Member #53834
            July 23, 2007
            467 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 14, 2009, 7:32 pm - IP Logged

            What are you talking about? Woods just got a free pass on a DUI, because of who he is! Any regular Joe driving that night would have been cited/arrested.

            Only know you've been high when your feeling low...Passenger Guitar

              HaveABall's avatar - rocket

              United States
              Member #72448
              March 18, 2009
              920 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: December 15, 2009, 5:11 pm - IP Logged

              .... "We can send men to the moon, set sateliites spinning 22,000 miles above the earth, calculate the orbit of planets light years away from us, but we can't find the owner of a phone number."

              I Agree!

              Often times I've desired that worldwide GPS system tracking divices be placed inside all new (and all future repaired) cell phones worldwide, starting yesterday.  That way these common money-win, deception practices could have a BIG probability of being stopped rather quickly.  The money to pay for this system could be a very reasonable 10% Recovery Fee; paid by the greedy/confused/compulsive gambling mentality owners before their funds were returned by our government.  Could be a win-win program, if enough free public service advertising was done via cell phone, tv, and radio corporations.  Yet, what about privacy .... I'm not sure which is more valuable or even viable ... and where would the start-up funds come from?

              Having millions of dollars in my financial accounts means more, consistent fun for me.Lovies

                Avatar
                NY
                United States
                Member #23835
                October 16, 2005
                2809 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: December 17, 2009, 3:18 pm - IP Logged

                "Often times I've desired that worldwide GPS system tracking divices beplaced inside all new (and all future repaired) cell phones worldwide,starting yesterday. "

                Amen to that. After all, who doesn't want the governments of the world to know exactly where they are every minute of the day?