I’ve written a lot about the various Advance Fee scams out there – and judging from my inbox – the lottery variation of the scam is huge.

I sometimes get four or five notifications that I’ve won a lottery, or sweepstakes, daily.

Last evening, I read an article written by Linda Leatherdale of the Toronto Sun about a grandmother losing a lot of her hard-earned money as a result of falling for them.

Linda Leatherdale writes:

But more than anything, she wanted to pay for a university education for her three grandchildren. So she entered the sweepstakes.

Lo and behold, a few months later she received a letter that she had won. Ecstatic, she read what she believed to be an authentic lottery letter, which asked her to send
in $25 to collect her prize.

CASH MAILED OFF

Not trusting giving out personal financial information, via cheques or credit cards, she sent cash. Then other letters arrived — from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world. Some invited her to play a new lottery, others said she’d won and to send money to collect her prize.

Toronto Sun story, here.

I’ve seen the lottery scams, where a high-dollar financial instrument is mailed to the “intended victim,” along with instructions to wire the money back – but mailing the smaller amounts ($25 to $50) was an activity that was new to me.

With Spam software that sends these “winner notifications” by the millions – I can see, where this could be a lucrative enterprise for the fraudsters behind this.

I guess the moral of the story is to look for the behavior. I’ve never won the lottery (I play Mega Millions sometimes) – but if I did – I doubt anyone would be asking me to send money.

It would probably be the other way around, or they would be sending me money!

Linda’s article mentions “Phonebusters” as a good resource to educate people on Internet scams. I agree and you can link to them, here.

Down here in the U.S., another good resource is the FTC, link here.

Please note that these “lottery scams” cross borders with the click of a mouse.

You can also report these scams at both of these sites, which is something I highly recommend!

Doing so might save another grandmother out there!

For another post about lottery scams and the sheer amount of spam circulating “winner notifications,” link here.

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