SWEEPSTAKES, LOTTERY AND PRIZE SCAMS

In the US, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a consumer protection network, has produced a study of how “winners” lose millions through an evolving fraud involving sweepstakes, lotteries and prize draw scams.  It notes that nearly 500,000 people have reported this fraud to enforcement agencies in the US and Canada over the last 3 years, and reported losses in 2017 alone totalled  $117 million.  It says that BBB found these frauds concentrate disproportionately on older people, who suffer the largest losses by far.  A vast worldwide industry of sweepstakes mailings specifically targets older victims.  The study aims to highlight red flags and actions to take to prevent this type of fraud – for example, no legitimate lottery or sweepstakes will ever request money for taxes, fees or any other purpose.   Amongst the facts it shares is that it is illegal for those in the US to enter foreign lotteries.  It also highlights why calls from Jamaica and Costa Rica, and social media contact from Nigeria are often used.  The study mentions what is being done in the US to combat the problem, and also provides a number of tips and recommendations.

https://www.bbb.org/globalassets/local-bbbs/st-louis-mo-142/st_louis_mo_142/studies/sweepstakes-lottery-and-prize-scams-study-final.pdf

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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