Beware Online Lottery Scams


A local resident reports that the "Facebook Lottery Scam" is making the rounds again. You will get an online chat from some contact that you added at some point (in this case it was a friend whose account was hacked) who alerts you to the fact they just won some large amount of money in the Facebook lottery. You are surprised to learn there is a lottery. They claim your name might have been on the list too. You are surprised again since you don't recall entering the lottery or sweepstakes (because you didn't and there is no lottery). You follow the link they provide and discover you are a winner! Wow!

Here comes the bad news. You are about to be scammed. If you contact the scammer to confirm that you are a winner, they will get you to fill out a form or divulge as much personal info as they can get you give up. Then, you will be told about the 'small fee' to get your prize. If you pay this, they will find another fee, and another one, and more, until you run out of money or wise up. You will never see any real money... maybe a counterfeit cheque and if you filled out enough personal information, you might even have a new mortgage somewhere on a house you never bought.

Please listen to that little feeling you get when you think something is too good to be true. The odds of getting any money back from these scammers is astronomically low as they operate out of the country and often in places where scamming you is not a concern to local authorities.

The best defence is to spread the word. Unfriend the scammer and block their communications in your social media. Only friend people you actually know and confirm with them using traditional methods to see if you are actually talking with them online about something that you have a bad feeling about.

If you do fall victim to these scams, don't be too embarrassed to contact your local police. Reporting these issues is important for law enforcement nation-wide and we do actually have some successes in these investigations. It also allows us to warn others about how the latest version of the scam is being played out and may help us prevent others from falling victim.

Surf safely and keep your wits about you when you get any offer out of the blue that seems too good to be true.