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Scammers use the tactic of mailing letters to people announcing they have won a foreign lottery. There is usually a form that must be returned along with a relatively small sum of money of about $250.00. Once the form is returned with the fee, additional fees are claimed to be required in order for the jackpot to be released. Sometimes the scammers call the individual to coerce the him/her into finding other sources of money once checking and savings accounts have been depleted.

What should you do if you receive any correspondence indicating you have won a foreign lottery? If you receive correspondence indicating you have won a foreign lottery, contact the U.S. Postmaster at _____ for instructions on how to proceed. If you choose not to contact the U.S. Postmaster, simply shred or burn the  letter.

Telephone calls       Some Americans have received phone calls from individuals indicating that they have won a foreign lottery and a small fee must be paid in order for the funds to be released. Scammers indicate this fee is for processing the jackpot amount through the governments of the foreign country and the U.S.. If a check or money order is sent to the address given, there will be another phone call soon afterward indicating that another sum must be sent in order for the jackpot to clear Customs. Scammers will continue to call demanding money until all checking and savings accounts have been depleted. Scammers then suggest that money be borrowed from either friends, loved ones, or the bank, or take out a second mortgage in order to pay these fees. If no other options exist for more money, scammers then begin to threaten the lives of the person or their family. In many cases the scammers will appear at the person’s home and issue these threats.

What can you do to protect yourself? First, get Caller ID through your local telephone company. It is usually a small fee of around $2.50 to $4.00. Each time the phone rings, carefully view the number and be sure you recognize the full number BEFORE answering the phone. If you do not recognize the full number, DO NOT answer. Allow the caller to leave a message. If no message is left, DO NOT, under any circumstances call the number.

We all have heard about the tricks scammers are using to get money from as many Americans as possible. Because of a plethora of websites that freely publish personal information about people these days, scammers are using this information to identify their targets, especially the elderly.




Lock computer    The Internet has become a technological staple in our lives today, but that does not mean that everything one may find on the web is true or every link is safe. Randomly clicking on links can cause any number of problems from creating a link to software that specifically records key strokes to steal browsing history or user passwords and account details. Even the most innocent search can eventually cause problems for the most educated. Scammers create seemingly legitimate links on which the unsuspecting user might click. At some point afterward, a screen will pop up indicating that your computer has been locked because you are being investigated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation under suspicion of possessing pornography on your computer. The statement on the screen further states that in order for your computer to be unlocked, you must submit a fee of a specified amount. The instructions must be followed exactly.

How do you protect yourself and what do you do if this happens to you? First, do not randomly click on a link “just because it looks interesting”. Never click on a link that offer FREE laptops, iPads, or other electronics in exchange for completing a survey that reqiures you to fill in your name, address, phone number, mother’s maiden name, and other information that may be used to identify you or steal your identity. Second, establish another account on your computer and give it administrative access. You may lose some documents and may not be able to access that account again, but at least you will still be able to use your computer. Third, purchase an external hard drive and back up your computer often, daily if possible.


IRS    The most recent tactic scammers are using involves them initiating a phone call to an individual. The scammer then states that he is an IRS agent and you owe back taxes that are due that day. He will then instruct you to load a certain amount of money onto a specific reloadable card, such as a Green Dot card. Once the funds are secured on the card, you will then be instructed to call a phone number and give the person who answers the card number. The phone calls can continue


Grandchild or veterans         Senior citizens have become the preferred population of scammers. This tactic involves the scammer initiating a call to a senior citizen stating that a grandchild is stranded in another state or country and needs money wired immediately. Having done their homework already, the scammer will present a convincing story even using the grandchild’s real name. Unsuspecting individuals who don’t want a family member stranded and unable to get home may unknowingly wire hundreds to thousands of dollars to the scammers. This tactic is also used with a veteran being stranded in another country and unable to get home.

What should you do if you receive one of these calls? First, as mentioned in Scam #2, purchase Caller ID through your local telephone company. If the call is received on a land line or mobile line and you do not recognize the entire phone number, DO NOT ANSWER. Allow the call to go to voicemail. If you answer by mistake, hand up immediately.

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