How does it feel to win millions of dollars through lottery ? Specially
when you never bought the lottery ticket or ever heard about it
Open your mailbox and whoa ! - the message informing you of your
good fortune is there. The subject line looks like:
'Winning Notification' or 'Congratulations ! You are a lotto winner'
or simply 'Notification'
Let that excitement not fudge your left brain (logical thinking)
- why should anyone in right frame of mind offer you such huge sum
? And you may not know - many others have received the same message
(or spam to be more exact) at the same time.
The messages may be sent by different people, from different continents
and by different organizations - but strangely the content remains
same for all.
99% of people will reject the mail and reach for 'Del' key - but
there's 1% who may feel otherwise.
What is Internet Lottery Scam
It is a con game where fraudsters send false messages
through telephone, e-mail, fax or postal mail, indicating the recipient
has won major cash prize. The message is so cleverly drafted and
makes such skillful use of established names and Internet links
of lawful lotteries - that even an alert person can get confused.
How Does the Scam work
The modus operandi is very simple - the respondents
are asked to pay an up-front fee to secure the release of the prize.
Sometimes the prizes include a series of lottery numbers with a
chance to win an expensive vehicle or vacation cruise. Typically,
persons who send money for these prizes never receive them and,
instead, receive only various forms of entry confirmation issued
by the con artists.
Fraudsters use techniques similar to legitimate lottery agents.
They are courteous, well-spoken and issue documents of genuine appearance.
These con artists have defrauded thousands of people in Canada,
USA, UK and many other European countries.
What About Genuine Internet Lotteries
I have already described how you stand to loose from
bogus lottery tickets. However, even if you play a genuine lottery
in the Internet - please take note of following facts
- It's illegal to play a foreign lottery - through the mail
or on the telephone or Internet.
- You may be playing in the hands of unscrupulous lottery agents.
By buying just one foreign lottery ticket, you've opened the
door to many more bogus offers for lottery or investment "opportunities."
Your name will be added to "sucker lists" that fraudulent telemarketers
buy and sell.
- Don't share your credit card and bank account numbers. Scam
artists often ask for them during an unsolicited sales pitch,
and then use them to commit other frauds against you.
My advice - ignore all mail and phone solicitations for foreign
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 3, Issue 47
March 20' 2003
Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various
capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development,
MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce
venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of
his own. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org