Lottery scam fraud

Lottery scam fraud

Are you aware of lottery scam frauds?

In this type of scam where the sender requests to help in facilitating the transfer of a substantial sum of money, generally in the form of an email. In return, the sender offers a commission, usually in the range of several million dollars. The scammers then request that money be sent to pay for some of the costs associated with the transfer. If money is sent to the scammers, they will either disappear immediately or try to get more money with claims of continued problems with the transfer.

In such matters the victims normally allege that they have received emails from unknown sources wherein they have been informed that:

  • Either they have won a lottery; or
  • Goods are offered at throwaway prices; or
  • Their help is required for transferring of illegal money from some foreign country; or
  • In some cases, the victim’s address book in her emailing list is compromised and emails sent to all contacts from ID asking for money to bail her out from a perilous situation.

The victims are trapped in a phased manner and are generally made to deposit a huge amount of money either as money transfer fee, payment of taxes or transportation cost.

The victims apparently receives a spam email and respond to the same and up paying money to some unknown persons for a nonexistent purpose.

Such crimes are generally carried out from foreign locations. Money is either deposited in offshore accounts or in some carrier in India.

Case: A 65-year old woman lost Rs. 38 lakh

A 65-year old woman from Bengaluru recently lost Rs. 38 lakh of her retirement money in one of the oldest cyber frauds- the lottery scam- where a person is asked to pay a fee to claim their winnings.

The woman receive a text message on her phone in December last informing her that she was the winner of an online lottery floated by a well-known mobile phone company. Not realizing that this was a scam, the woman thought she was going to pocket five million pounds, as promised.

The elderly woman, who is a former central government employee, received the SMS text in December. “She responded to the message started corresponding with the scamsters via email and mobile phone. She remained mesmerized over the false claim that she had won five million pounds (over Rs. 47 crore) in the overseas lottery, “ an investigating officer told The Hindu.

Slowly, she began parting with her savings thinking that she would get the money. She transferred Rs. 38 lakh in 20 installments to various bank accounts provided by the culprits. They justified the payments by giving her false explanations such as payment for Indian Customers clearance, anti-terrorism certificate and Income Tax authorization.

She allegedly did not inform her family members about it, as per the advice of the people behind the scam. She sent document proofs on demand, including her PAN, bank account details and voter ID card. By the time she realized that there was no pot of gold, she had lost her life savings, including her provident fund and gratuity money. She lodged a complaint with the cyber crime wing in February.

A probe has traced the phone calls and bank accounts to Delhi and other parts of north India. However, the police are yet to recover the money or identify the perpetrators.

Preventive Measures/Precautions:

  • Have you received an SMS or email saying that you have won a prize in a lottery? It’s a scam. Do not respond.
  • Never respond to fake lottery winning related calls/SMS/Emails.
  • Have you received an SMS or email about transferring of money into your account? It’s a scam. Do not respond.
  • Have proper spam filters in your email account.
  • Follow the thumb rule: Never transfer funds to unknown persons or entities in anticipation of high returns. This is never going to happen.
  • If you received an unsolicited email, do not open any attachments or files that came with it, as they could contain malware or a virus.
  • Do not disclose your private bank or personal details. If you have already provided this information, then notify your bank or building society immediately.