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Michigan resident loses whopping $295,000 in lottery scams

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Michigan resident loses whopping $295,000 in lottery scams

An elderly Michigan resident was conned out of $295,000 — virtually her life savings — in a series of scams over the previous year, Police Chief Dan McDevitt said.

A network of con artists used three different types of scams to persuade the woman to mail 12 pounds of money to Europe and to wire money to Canada, McDevitt said.

The woman got $8,200 back when her bank noticed the con artists attempted to cash two of the wire transfers in fraudulent accounts in Canada, he said.

McDevitt declined to identify the woman or provide additional personal information about her.

"The Lansing police were not notified of these scams until the entire amount had already been lost," he said. "Her bank had no knowledge until they got word from Canada that a couple of things were fraudulent."

Lansing police contacted the FBI about the incidents, but federal investigators did not sound hopeful about tracking down the culprits, McDevitt said.

"We've contacted everybody," he said. "They all tell us the same thing: These people are professional scam artists. These people are very, very difficult to catch."

In the first scam, a man claiming to be from Europe telephoned the woman to say he found two large bags of money and needed money from the woman to ship her share of it, McDevitt said.

"She sent him the money and, needless to say, never received any bags of money or anything else," he said.

Postal records indicate the woman sent packages to Europe totaling 12 pounds, McDevitt said.

In the second scam, which is common, a man telephoned from Canada to tell her she had won a large amount of money in the lottery, he said.

Over several months, the woman wired money to the "Canadian Lottery," McDevitt said.

"These offenders are smart enough to know that wire transfers monitor large transactions, so they instructed the victim to send smaller amounts of money — $2,500 to $4,000 at a time," he said.

Fortunately, the woman's Illinois bank detected that two checks totaling $8,200 were sent to fake accounts, McDevitt said.

In the third incident, a man telephoned to say he had access to unclaimed money in an account whose owner died, McDevitt said. The man said to gain access he needed money for "legal stuff."

"This is a variation on a pigeon drop," McDevitt said. "Somebody comes up to you, opens up a bag and it has money it. He says he has a friend who's an attorney who says if he puts up earnest money, he can keep the money in the bag.

"He says, 'You look nice. You look like nice people. If you can put $1,000, I'll split it with you.'"

Munster Times

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10 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by jeffrey.
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Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
Atlantic Mine, Michigan
United States
Member #416
June 23, 2002
1614 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 9, 2006, 12:13 pm - IP Logged

Why would you continue to had these people more and more of your money.  I just don't understand.  I could see maybe losing out the first couple times because she was elderly but after that even if you are old you should be able to see that they were scam artists.

Brad

    Uff Da!'s avatar - InCelebration 001.jpg
    Washington State
    United States
    Member #33973
    February 26, 2006
    347 Posts
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    Posted: April 9, 2006, 12:32 pm - IP Logged

    Oh, that is so sad when people take such advantage of someone whose mind must have almost totally gone.  Too bad it wasn't recognized just how bad her mind must have been and another family member put in charge of her financial matters.

    Then again, I'm not so sure that is always a good situation, either.  In my own case, I know that if I had a stroke or otherwise became mentally incapacitated, if I didn't have legal documents to indicate otherwise, the most likely person the courts would put in charge of my affairs would be someone who has already declared bankruptcy twice.  Hardly a person one would want handling their money!

      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
      mid-Ohio
      United States
      Member #9
      March 24, 2001
      19829 Posts
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      Posted: April 9, 2006, 12:55 pm - IP Logged

      The question should be how do these scam artists find these people.  Do someone sell a list of people over 65 with $200K+ of savings.  I know one bank where I have a couple of CD's has given the information in my accounts to an independent financial adviser that has an office in the bank who have offered to reinvest my insured CD's into in uninsured annuities that pay higher interests.  I wonder if that information is available to anyone for a price.

       * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
         
                   Evil Looking       

        time*treat's avatar - radar

        United States
        Member #13130
        March 30, 2005
        2171 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 9, 2006, 2:45 pm - IP Logged

        The question should be how do these scam artists find these people.  Do someone sell a list of people over 65 with $200K+ of savings.  I know one bank where I have a couple of CD's has given the information in my accounts to an independent financial adviser that has an office in the bank who have offered to reinvest my insured CD's into in uninsured annuities that pay higher interests.  I wonder if that information is available to anyone for a price.

        Yes. For a price. When you consider the number of current/former employees w/ access to the info, any number of them can be bought off for a grand or few. And w/ so many with the access, there is plenty of plausible deniability. Consider the number of people convicted for trying to (or actually) sell code or customer data from some of the big computer or internet companies.

        In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
        Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

          justxploring's avatar - villiarna
          Wandering Aimlessly
          United States
          Member #25360
          November 5, 2005
          4461 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 9, 2006, 5:57 pm - IP Logged

          I feel badly for anyone who is cheated by these maggots who prey on human weakness. But someone offering you an alternative to your investment portfolio is not a scam artist. A scam artist is someone who defrauds a person and unknowingly steals their money or makes false promises. The list of names you mentioned are often gathered from court records such as loans which include new mortgages and refinancing and other public information. Property tax records are also available to the public. If I want to get a list of people over 60 with assets exceeding $100,000 I can it from a company that gathers this data. The information is always accurate, but it's a tool for people who want to market their products or services to a particular age/income bracket. If you were selling medicare supplements, you wouldn't want to spend hours calling or writing to people 35 years old. It's an honest way of doing business.

          I really doubt your bank has shared your specific information with anyone (like soc security) but it's possible they do have a general list. If you know they've violated your trust, I would change banks. You can also contact your bank and request that this information remain private and you do not welcome solicitations. However, the Do Not Call list rules are often unclear. Sometimes a person will ask for "permission to mail information" which is not technically selling anything. In any case, if you send a card saying "I'd like some more information" then that company or person has the right to call you within 90 days of receipt. However, if you tell him/her to stop soliciting, by law he has to leave you alone or you can file a complaint. If you have an account with any service like your telephone company, cable company and your bank, any other service they or an affiliate offer can be solicited legally until you request otherwise. Although this can be done verbally, it is better to put it in writing. Compliance usually takes 30 days.

          As far as CDs vs Annuities, that's a subject I won't get into on this board. Whether or not they're the best choice is always a personal decision which depends upon your individual financial situation and investment objectives.  When you get interest from a CD you are paying taxes on money you're not even spending. The interest from an annuity is deferred. It is also money that is protected from creditors in case of a long-term illness or death. Just remember that the "I" in FDIC stands for insurance. Many of the companies that offer annuities to clients, which are very safe, have been in business since the Civil War and have billions, sometimes trillions, in assets.

            bluedog's avatar - animaniacs30
            New Member
            Midland, Texas.
            United States
            Member #9873
            December 25, 2004
            17 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 9, 2006, 8:15 pm - IP Logged

            I honestly feel sorry for the elderly victim in this situation.
            But you have to understand one fact here it is again someone trying to get something for nothing which is greed which seems to cost people quite a bit.
            I usually get a bunch of that crap in my e-mail also saying that I won some big lottery in Australia or the Canadian lottery.  But I know for a fact that I have not purchased a lottery ticket in either one of those lottery's.
            Do like I do what I see that bogus e-mail in my bulk folder I ignore it.
            I wish people would stop falling for that crap it just makes me feel so bad for our elderly who have worked so hard over the years to build a nest egg and some lowlife comes along and scans them :-(

            be careful because we rather not read these type of stories

              Avatar
              MI
              United States
              Member #20229
              August 14, 2005
              59 Posts
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              Posted: April 10, 2006, 5:49 am - IP Logged

              Oh, that is so sad when people take such advantage of someone whose mind must have almost totally gone. Too bad it wasn't recognized just how bad her mind must have been and another family member put in charge of her financial matters.

              Then again, I'm not so sure that is always a good situation, either. In my own case, I know that if I had a stroke or otherwise became mentally incapacitated, if I didn't have legal documents to indicate otherwise, the most likely person the courts would put in charge of my affairs would be someone who has already declared bankruptcy twice. Hardly a person one would want handling their money!

              It is really sad to read about these cases. However, it does not necessarily mean that the elderly person is incapable of handling their own finances.

              I have a relative that does just fine handling his day-to-day finances and investing.

              But, I am amazed at some of things he has tried to make money on in hopes of doubling or tripling his money in a short period of time. Remember the Ponzi schemes? Buy a ticket on a plane or train and when your seat gets moved to the front everyone sends you money. Yep, 10 grand, gone. How about investing in an on-line mall? Even though he doesn't know how to use computer. 5 grand gone. Silver futures? Heating oil futures? 15 grand gone, plus another 5 grand to try and make the 15 back.

              It all comes down to greed. He wants so bad to be rich that it blinds him. Sometimes he will call before doing these things and I can talk him out of it and sometimes I hear about it later. It's sad to say that he is just scraping by on Social Security and no longer able to invest in most of the things he wants to try. He realizes what he's done wrong but all of the past is out the window when another "opportunity" comes along.

                SassyOhio's avatar - Picture012
                Columbus Ohio
                United States
                Member #35946
                March 25, 2006
                234 Posts
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                Posted: April 10, 2006, 9:25 am - IP Logged

                As I have mentioned on some of the  other articles,  My roomate was scammed. A few months after it happened we were  on the net  Yahoo mesenger and she was in a chat room, This guy came across a PM and asked her for her help. He stated to her that there was a LARGE amount of money at this bank out of the country that needed to be claimed and he needed her help, after a hr in the pm with him  and growed very tired of his crap ( we knew that this was a scam but was humoring him to see if we could turn him in and we did report it to the police and Yahoo cause they can trace that account and get a IP addy)  She  thank goodness was more aware of scams now and so am I . I dont understand either how someone would just keep getting involved with this stuff and I DONT understand how they cant find these people. They had to pick the money up from some where right?????  There should be cameras  or finger prints on something  they just dont want to help her get her money back

                Hopin To Be The Lucky Ones!!

                COME ON MEGA! MEGA-ME-RICH!

                 

                Please feel free to visit my sisters memorial page that I have now completed

                www.freewebs.com/wendyinmyheartforever


                  United States
                  Member #379
                  June 5, 2002
                  11296 Posts
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                  Posted: April 10, 2006, 11:18 am - IP Logged

                  The question should be how do these scam artists find these people.  Do someone sell a list of people over 65 with $200K+ of savings.  I know one bank where I have a couple of CD's has given the information in my accounts to an independent financial adviser that has an office in the bank who have offered to reinvest my insured CD's into in uninsured annuities that pay higher interests.  I wonder if that information is available to anyone for a price.

                  Cash Only saw your entry. Don't put your money into an annuity LOL

                    jeffrey's avatar - moon
                    Hamilton, OH
                    United States
                    Member #4162
                    March 27, 2004
                    277 Posts
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                    Posted: April 11, 2006, 2:43 am - IP Logged

                    Jesus wept. Fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice shame on me. Jesus tap dancing Christ, when will they learn; nobody gives you something for nothing. I hope I always remember this stuff. I have seen otherwise wise and smart people fooled by so many variations of these same cons: work at home, make millions buying homes with no money down, win the lottery. The surest way to make money is to sell books that supposedly tell people how to make money easily. My rant is over.