Internet: Fooled Again



WAIS finances are a major concern, so I was surprised and pleased when I received an e-mail from the UK Lottery in Liverpool, England, saying that I had won nearly $100,000, my name having been chosen  at random from a selected list. I had not bought a ticket; I never take part in a lottery. It all seemed very official, and I assumed it was the UK government`run lottery. I was required to fill in all kinds of forms, which I did.  I intended to give the money to WAIS.  After all the paperwork, I was asked to send $350 to have the check sent by UPI, insured. I immediately smelled a rat, and replied telling them to send the check by ordinary mail. No reply was received. I contacted the British Consulate General in San Francisco, which told me it was a scam. Apparently the UK government can do little about it, which does not make sense to me. I imagine that many credulous people fall for this scam, and, if they have financial problems, they would be especially easy to dupe. The $350 would be a small fortune for them.  I wrote to Professor Jerry Israel saying that WAIS should concern itself with international criminal activities; then this came up. I completely fail to understand why governments are unable to crack down on such activities. Britain is famous for its legal system, so inaction in this matter is a great disappointment.  My guess is that the group operates out of the UK and preys on people living in the US, so that  coordination between UK and US authorities would be necessary to stop the scam and jail the scammers.  It should not be difficult. The appropriate official in the British Consulate General in San Francisco writes:
I have forwarded this email to the metropolitan police fraud unit in the UK.  If I receive a reply I will forward it to you.


received this message from the UK Lottery: GOOD DAY Ronald Hilton, I HAVE NOT HEARD FROM YOU, DO GET BACK TO ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE WITH THE WESTERN UNION PAYMENT INFORMATION, SO WE COULD MOVE ON WITH THE NEXT STEP- REGARDS. MARK DONALD
DELIVERY DEPARTMENT. From the UK George Sassoon writes: These scams are very common.  We get them all the time in the UK too; they do not just prey on US citizens.  I  know some UK people who lost several thousand pounds to a similar scam in Oklahoma or somewhere like that, and I get them saying that I have won a lottery in Holland.  I would be quite interested to see any reply from the fraud unit.  I have set up an email account in a false Serbian name and send them details of a false bank account, which they must then try to raid for my funds!  At least this wastes their time.

Rob Gaudet writes: They ought to be able to figure out who owns the P.O. Box where the cheques are sent.  Maybe it would help to contact the U.S. Department of Justice Interpol office dealing with international criminal activity.  This sounds like a potential RICO violation.  There may also be a claim for a victim who sends in the money; they might sue under American consumer protection laws in a class action suit.

RH: George says these scams are very common.  I do not understand why the police is unable to cope with this problem.

Robert Pulvertaft writes of the scam I described in "Fooled again".:This scam is well worn. In addition there are various others doing the rounds and one is new and highly successful.  Ignore:

  1. Any missive from Nigeria suggesting that vast sums of dollars need liberating. Anything from the Netherlands suggesting lottery win (as above). Any message from a bank requesting that you re-set your account details. And. The winner is:  If you sell anything online (ebay et al) beware of this ‘payment’ scam. The buyer will offer you over payment for multifarious reasons such as clearing money owed to them in the UK.  Example:  You are selling a boat for £2000.  They send you £5000 that then (apparently) clears into your bank account.  You then wire them the balance of £3000.  A few weeks later your bank informs you that the original cheque was fraudulent.  You are liable as the banks are only providing ‘guidance’ as to cleared funds and fraudulent cheques take weeks to detect.
  2. Penis enlargement pills do not work and are entirely unnecessary for Englishmen www.englandism.com
 


Ronald Hilton 2005

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last updated: April 13, 2005