It is quite common for anyone online to receive a scammers email purporting to be from a global international lottery claiming the recipient has won a top prize. Of course, as previously explained on this site, if you have not already joined a lottery, you are not going to win anything. Nonetheless millions of pounds or dollars are being conned out of innocent people every year.
The country of Nigeria has always been considered to be the usual source of a scammers email although Canada has also been discovered as the origin of such scams. In recent years however a new country has started to produce such emails, letters or telephone calls: Jamaica.
Under pressure from the American government, the Jamaican authorities have begun a crackdown on the scammers and their findings are not far short of astonishing.
The Jamaican Observer newspaper reports that those who send a scammers email are racking in millions of dollars every week. They earn so much money that they simply waste it away in ridiculous ways such as washing cars in champagne. Almost anyone can earn in excess of US$120,000 using a mobile phone and a list of leads freely available from large corporations. Such lists provide personal details the victims would be horrified to know are being shared.
The scams grew massively five years ago after a Government crackdown on the drugs trade. One scammer was reported to have earned in excess of $800 million but was murdered in a row over the money. There seems little doubt that the lottery scams finance serious crime.
During the year 2010, it is estimated that scammers raised US$30 million from victims in the state of Minnesota alone. One lady in Florida sent $400,000 to a Jamaican criminal.
As so much money is involved, it should come as no surprise that government officials are implicated. In July two were arrested as part of the investigation – one was the mayor of Montego Bay, where many of the call centres are located. Fortunately this indicates that action is being taken against those who send the scammers email or make illicit telephone calls. Even so, the Jamaican Labour Party has criticised the Government for not doing enough to eradicate the problem.
The Opposition leader, Andrew Holness condemned a rise in killings linked to the crime and the lack of action on the part of the Government in implementing anti-crime legislation.
All this activity in Jamaica just goes to prove that we must all stay vigilant against any scammers email or telephone call. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is not true.
Please do not fall victim to a scammers email, letter or telephone call