Oops. No more sucker.

Singapore November 4th, 2007

I read a previous uncut version of the following post early this morning here and below is the officially published version. I was wondering if the editors are really going to publish the original version in the papers because I am not sure how many people who had been conned don’t mind being called a sucker.

Lottery scams: At least 1 case a day

179 cases reported in last 2 months alone; victims told to pay ‘admin fees’ in order to receive prizes

IF IT sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s an old saying but it has been getting a new lease of life here recently.

Gullible Singaporeans seem to be queuing up to fall victim to a lottery scam that has claimed more than $2 million this year. There has been about one victim a day over the past month and more than 210 so far this year.

The sharp increase in the number of victims has been startling. Up till August, only 31 people had been duped this year. But 91 people were conned in September – the last time police raised the alert – alone, with a spike of another 88 cases last month.

The scam centres on the premise that victims have won a pile of cash.

Conmen send text messages to mobile phones notifying people that they have won big in the lottery.

Victims are told to call an overseas number to claim their prize. They are then asked to make payments in advance to cover ‘administrative’ or ‘processing’ fees.

The fraudsters have another trick up their sleeves: calling victims on the pretext of conducting a survey or inviting them to an overseas event.

A few days later, the target is called again and told that he has won a cash prize through a lucky draw that was entered on his behalf.

He is asked to remit money to a local bank account, or one in China. Once the victims part with their cash, the swindlers disappear without a trace.

Marketing executive Jonathan Goh received a suspicious overseas call two weeks ago from a person with a strong Chinese accent asking him to take part in a survey.

Mr Goh, 25, hung up when the man failed to come up with a plausible reason for obtaining his phone number.

‘It seemed dubious. Besides, I had heard about such scams so I told them to stop contacting me,’ he said.

‘People should ignore such senseless messages. How can you win and still need to pay?’

If you have been a victim of one of these lottery scams, or know someone who is, please e-mail stlocal@sph.com.sg to share your experience.  

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 4th November 2007

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