Calls from Jamaica continue to tempt resident into thinking they were lottery winners.
The number of complaints from American citizens about Jamaican lottery offers continues to grow to where there are now more than 30,000 calls recorded in just the last year, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
That’s a conservative number since many incidents go unreported out of fear or embarrassment. If you’ve fallen for a caller’s pitch, there’s a little guilt, and reluctance to admit it to anyone. But the area residents are learning, and telling the scammers so.
A sweepstakes call from scammers to a Boise woman didn’t hold up. When she was given a fake phone number to the Better Business Bureau in Las Vegas (the Southern Nevada BBB) to verify her winnings, she questioned it.
She was told not to call until it had all been set up. She hanged up on them.
When BBB called the number, 876 – the prefix for Jamaica, a rapid busy signal sounded.
An Idaho Falls woman received many calls from an 876- number. A man with a heavy accent told her she’d won $500,000 and to claim the prize, she needed to call Mike Henry at 876-528-5888 in Las Vegas.
When BBB called, a man with a heavy Caribbean accent answered the call and identified himself as Mike Henry. Mr. Henry was courteous at first, and told “me to hold the line.” Several seconds later, the line was disconnected.
When a follow-up call was immediately made, it went straight to voice mail, where a recorded voice said the box was full.
A third call, answered by the same man called Mr. Henry, was cut short with shouts of profanity.
- Purchasing foreign lotteries are illegal. United States federal law prohibits mailing payments to buy any ticket, share, or chance in a foreign lottery. Most foreign lottery solicitations sent to addresses in the United States do not come from foreign government agencies or licensees. Instead, they come from fraudulent companies that seek exorbitant fees from those wishing to play. The activities of these companies are neither controlled nor monitored by the country’s government.
- Typically, those who pay the required fees never see any lottery tickets or any other evidence that lottery tickets were purchased on their behalf. In some cases, the soliciting company uses high-pressure telemarketing techniques to get credit card account numbers. Once they have the numbers, repeated unauthorized transactions are made to the accounts.
- As a general proposition, federal law prohibits sending lottery material through the mail. This material includes letters and circulars about a lottery, tickets or any paper claiming to represent tickets in a lottery, and payments to buy such tickets.
If you receive a mailed lottery solicitation, an email ask or phone solicitation, contact the BBB and/or turn the entire mail piece over to the local postmaster or postal inspector.