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Lottery winners: beware the phone

Aug 9, 2006, 12:42 pm

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After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Lottery winners: beware the phone

For lottery winners flush with newfound wealth, the Powerball windfall can be a devil in angel's clothing.

It will mean a new sense of financial security for the 100 production and shipping employees at Sargento Foods in Plymouth claiming the $208.6 million Jackpot Saturday. But it can also mean the onset of worries, as the phones begin ringing off the hook from those looking for donations or handouts.

Many of these callers will be known by the winners or will be legitimate organizations, yet others will be strangers or scammers trying to conjure a plan to get a piece of the winner's nearly $1 million - the amount expected to be doled out to each person after taxes.

"We used to just have to worry about relatives and friends coming up to you and talking you out of your millions. Now you have millions of people trying to separate you from your money," said Glen Lloyd, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection spokesman. "There are people who are trying to figure out how to bamboozle that little Wisconsin town."

The winners each pitched in $1 for tickets, including the winning ticket, purchased at Ma & Pa's Grocery Express, 506 S. Main St.

Once the winner's names become public, scammers from around the country and world could have the ammo they need to defraud area lottery winners, Lloyd said.

"These people are feeling generous and may feel vulnerable," he said.

For example, scammers may call to congratulate the lottery winner and then suggest they jointly donate money to a charity. The scammer would offer to send a check for a significant amount of money to the winner.

While the winner may be waiting for the check to clear the bank, the scammer would ask the lottery winner to write a check or wire half of the money to a charity, which would turn out to be a made-up organization. Later, the winner would learn that the original check sent by the scammer hadn't cleared, but it would be too late, since the scammer would have the winner's money, Lloyd said.

"There are smart people out there that are trying to relieve them of their winnings. They should know this," Lloyd warned.

Wisconsin is known as a victim state, he said. Scammers often originate from Nevada, California, Texas, Florida and Canada.
Jessica Iverson, Wisconsin Lottery spokesperson, said she hasn't heard of any lottery winners in Wisconsin being defrauded by scammers in the past.

She said that doesn't mean lottery winners' phones aren't ringing off the hooks; something that is likely for the recent winners of the $209 million jackpot, the largest in Wisconsin history.

"I don't think there is any way to completely prevent contacts after a big win like this," Iverson said.

She said a lot of winners choose to get unlisted phone numbers and many have questions about whether this quick and unfamiliar attention will affect the well being of their families.

"Most of these people do not have experience in the public eye," Iverson said.

The Reporter

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10 comments. Last comment 14 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1
Coastal Georgia
United States
Member #2653
October 30, 2003
1866 Posts
Posted: August 9, 2006, 3:18 pm - IP Logged

Thanks to numerous articles I have read here on LP and some good old fashioned common sense, I know that I will not be a scam victim If I am ever so lucky to hit the big one...

I hope these people don't fall prey to the scammers...







    justxploring's avatar - villiarna
    Wandering Aimlessly
    United States
    Member #25359
    November 5, 2005
    4461 Posts
    Posted: August 9, 2006, 3:26 pm - IP Logged

    "Many of these callers will be known by the winners or will be legitimate organizations, yet others will be strangers or scammers trying to conjure a plan to get a piece of the winner's nearly $1 million - the amount expected to be doled out to each person after taxes."


    The net amount keeps changing. What was the cash value? I can't seem to find it in any article. If I recall it was around $95M. So the near $1 million reported above can't be right. Even a 50% payout after fed & state taxes would be around $600-$650,000, not $1 million. Did exactly 100 people win?

    Anyway, I doubt if getting an unlisted number will help very much. I have an unlisted number and I'm on the Natl DNC list. Yet I keep getting calls telling me I've won a Cadillac Escalade, which is a scam. You can't win something if you never entered the contest! Regarding legitimate charity groups, as Coin Toss wrote in another post, they'll always be labeled as the people who won $208M. $600K is a lot of money, and I'd love to have it, but that isn't even enough for a young family of 5 to retire on, considering the cost of college, weddings and other expenses like dental & healthcare.  I hope that they're kind to needy friends and relatives, but I think they should stick to the 10% of annual earnings suggested guideline for charitable donations. Some of them might still be renting. A nice home, furniture and few cars will just about eat up the entire amount. Also, if you were 45 and had 2 children starting a family, you might want to help them buy a house. It's just not that much money to have strangers pounding on your door for handouts, but I doubt if they'll be able to escape that scene without moving.

    Regarding scams, I got a call from Citibank the other day and was even suspicious so I called them back! I've been getting emails that look so real it's scary. The one from security@bankofamerica.com is a scam, but for a second I wondered if I was being paranoid, so I used Google to find it listed on some fraud sites. So my rule is never use a link from any email and never furnish anyone with personal information unless you call them using the number printed on your statement or card.

      bellyache's avatar - 64x64a9wg

      United States
      Member #12618
      March 18, 2005
      2060 Posts
      Posted: August 9, 2006, 5:22 pm - IP Logged

      I would be nice to get a final figure on how much the winners get, but I'm guessing in the end, it doesn't really matter what the amount is. I bet most of, if not all of the winners are just happy to get a piece of it. Hope it all works out for them.

      Dance like no one is watching.


        United States
        Member #10720
        January 23, 2005
        933 Posts
        Posted: August 9, 2006, 8:44 pm - IP Logged

        It's VERY simple. Before you win, decide what people that you know at the time would get what kind of help from you. The people who are there when you're poor are the ones you should consider. Then, if you do win, stick to that plan, and DON'T GIVE ANYBODY ELSE ANYTHING no matter how heart-wrenching their story is, but do give to well-known charities like Red Cross if you want to help people, or with your extra free time, so you don't get bored, do volunteer assignments i.e. Community Service.

        A charity that cold-called me like that wouldn't see a dime.

          United States
          Member #1424
          April 25, 2003
          696 Posts
          Posted: August 10, 2006, 12:20 am - IP Logged

          Being Scottish, I would invest 99% of the money immediately and give donations from the interest earned.  If "they" don't like my plan, they have the same clothes to get glad in they got mad in.  You can tell I am not a people pleaser.  That is an impossible mission.

          Orangeman            Boxing

            United States
            Member #17554
            June 22, 2005
            5582 Posts
            Posted: August 10, 2006, 10:48 am - IP Logged

            I always enjoy hearing what problems winners might encounter.

            I would love to have those problems....

            Let me get this straight.....

            Working for a living for many many years...

            Or, Having millions in the bank, and telling scammers to go blank themselves....Hmmmm

            That's a tough one....LOL

              justxploring's avatar - villiarna
              Wandering Aimlessly
              United States
              Member #25359
              November 5, 2005
              4461 Posts
              Posted: August 10, 2006, 11:55 pm - IP Logged

              "Or, Having millions in the bank, and telling scammers to go blank themselves....Hmmmm"

              Or they can get caller ID!!

                United States
                Member #7853
                October 15, 2004
                11350 Posts
                Posted: August 11, 2006, 3:01 am - IP Logged

                i'll just do without a phone.

                  United States
                  Member #12322
                  March 11, 2005
                  36 Posts
                  Posted: August 11, 2006, 6:44 am - IP Logged

                  Or...........In the words of Nancy Regan, "JUST SAY NO!!!" applies to more than Drugs,No Pity!

                    United States
                    Member #379
                    June 5, 2002
                    11296 Posts
                    Posted: August 11, 2006, 9:37 am - IP Logged

                    So what if you're Scottish? What if you were Irish instead?