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Elders fleeced in lottery scam

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Elders fleeced in lottery scam

Several Massachusetts seniors have paid a hefty price after falling prey to a Canadian lottery scam, Danvers Police announced this week, and they've issued a public warning.

"Danvers has had four incidents this year, with victim's losing an average of $8,000," Sgt. Robert Bettencourt said.

Recouping the losses will be tricky, police said, since the suspects based in Canada are using false identities to claim the cash and moving on to other victims assuming a new identity.

The elderly residents were contacted by mail and phone by individuals telling the unsuspecting seniors they had won millions in a Canadian lottery, Bettencourt said. The victims were told they would first have to pay off taxes on the winnings in order to receive their millions in lottery winnings.

"These individuals were asked to wire the money to Canada using Western Union," Bettencourt said. "After sending the money, sometimes they are called back and asked to send more."

"Western Union advises our customers that using the money transfers is a great way to get money to family and friends," Sherry Johnson, Western Union corporate communications manager said Tuesday, "However, we advise all our customers not to ever send money to strangers."

Western Union is a person-to-person service, Johnson said. Pay-outs are made at various Western Union locations, including Canada, and it's a system easily abused if you do not personally know the person to whom you're wiring the money.

"We require individuals claiming money to present identification and know the specifics of the transaction," Johnson said. "We educate our agents on the types of fraud, but it's difficult to stop unless the consumer wiring the money tells the agent the purpose of payment."

The most recent scam involving a Danvers victim occurred on Nov. 29, police said. An elderly man was bilked out more than $10,000 he sent through a Western Union wire transfer at a Middleton office. After claiming the cash in Canada, the same man called the victim asking for more money to complete the transaction. The second request was not met after the victim's friends intervened and advised him to contact police.

Although Johnson could not provide details of this specific incident, she did say that the wire transfer company works cooperatively with law enforcement in all fraud investigations. In an effort the thwart the illegal activity, all U.S. Western Union agents receive a monthly newsletter advising of fraud trends, Johnson said.

Three other similar Danvers scams occurred earlier this year in January, July and September, police said. Four incidents occurred last year.

Danvers Herald

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7 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1
Avatar
Coastal Georgia
United States
Member #2653
October 30, 2003
1866 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 9, 2005, 10:47 am - IP Logged

As long as we have money, there will always be someone trying to steal it.

This will never stop.

 

 

                               

              

 

 

    Avatar
    Sparta, NJ
    United States
    Member #18331
    July 9, 2005
    1977 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: December 9, 2005, 12:40 pm - IP Logged

    Do these people live on the fifth level of a silo?  No television, no newspapers, no radio, no telegraph station, no neighbors, no one to talk to?  How isolated do you have to be to miss the news flash: Scam, do not participate!  Its not like this hasn't happened before. 

    Cheers

    |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

    I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice


      United States
      Member #379
      June 5, 2002
      11296 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 10, 2005, 12:12 pm - IP Logged

      Maybe scams especially target seniors in Massachusetts (and NY) since the MA Lottery has many annuity-only prizes, since the false mailings often promote "lump sum".

        Avatar

        United States
        Member #27625
        December 4, 2005
        88 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 12, 2005, 6:11 pm - IP Logged

         This Canadian Lottery Scam is so bad, in Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has placed billboard ads along highways telling people not to send money to people claiming to be from the Canadian Lottery. These criminal con men prey on seniors and small town folks that are quite trusting. Notice they never beat any people from Brooklyn or Jersey City. People in the NYC area don't beleive their own mothers when they are told something. The sweet, honest country people get hit. When you win a prize, you don't send money, you receive money! Geez!!!!

          Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
          Clarksville
          United States
          Member #487
          July 15, 2002
          17638 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 12, 2005, 6:44 pm - IP Logged

          That same scam is making its way around in my town now..it has been on the TV more than once but there are still some who are non believers...I guess with Christmas coming a lot of people would rather believe that Santa is giving them this "money".

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

          You never know when you will get another hit.

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #27625
            December 4, 2005
            88 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 12, 2005, 9:32 pm - IP Logged

            Who would send money to a voice on the phone? Answer: A very sheltered, naieve person, without "street smarts", who trusts people at their word.


              United States
              Member #379
              June 5, 2002
              11296 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: December 13, 2005, 1:33 pm - IP Logged

              I check my mail carefully. I don't remember getting a scam letter like this; then again I'm "only" 42.