If you don’t know about the Jamaican Lottery Scam, these are the basics.
A phone call is received by someone in the United States. The caller says, (basically) “Is this Mrs. [Name]?”
“Congratulations! You’ve won the Jamaican Lottery!”
The conversation then proceeds one of a number of patterns, but they all lead to the fact that Mrs [Name] has won the Lottery of $Xyz and needs to pay something like Five Thousand Dollars tax on the winnings and they will be sent to her.
She is told to send the money to [Name] at Western Union in [Name of Jamaican City, originally Montego Bay but now other cities].
Mrs. [Name] sends the money.
End of Part One of the Scam.
Depending on how stupid the person in America is there can be follow ups, and more money sent. There can be calls from ‘Police’ talking about a ‘sting’ and more money is sent. The variations on the theme are myriad.
However, the victim will be sending money to get nothing; for there is no Lottery.
The only kind of Lottery is a ‘Lotto’ where you have to buy a ticket, and pay for it, and pick numbers, and if your numbers win, you will get dribs and drabs of your winnings. But you Buy a Ticket.
And no one Ever Calls you to tell you that you won. If you don’t check the numbers you won’t know if you won because there is no Name given when you buy the ticket. So I can find a ticket in the street and cash it, (if it wins) no matter who bought it.
Now what made this scam seem so ‘legitimate’ is that the caller knew the person’s name and address.
There is a call centre in Montego Bay. It does Billing for Reader’s Digest. This is a nice little magazine which has readers in the over seventy age group. It is very right wing, very anti- everything modern people are for, and is not very popular among those under forty.
The billing for Reader’s Digest is done in Jamaica.
Beginning in the late 1990s the scam ran like this;
A page of customers is sold for $X to the Scammer. The Scammer hires five women and gives each five numbers to call on a disposable cell phone. The calls are made, and the money is to arrive at Western Union. There was a connection in Western Union who dealt with the person who picked up the cash. This was either the Scammer himself or his deputy.
Millions of dollars was obtained through this Scam.
When it first began, the attitude of the Jamaican Government was; ‘So?’
It was felt that ‘a fool and his/her money is soon parted’ and how anyone can call someone in America from Jamaica and say they won a lottery that the American never entered is simply stupid. And there is no law against stupid.
Vybz Kartel did a song called ‘Reparations’ claiming the money received from the persons scammed should be seen as reparation for slavery.
The United States Government was very annoyed and decided that since Jamaica was doing nothing about the Scam they would do something about Jamaica.
Visas were canceled for major people. Not some little nobody but big business men and people associated with the Government.
A lot of benefits were withheld, and the pressure was so great that in 2013 a law was passed which enabled easier arrest of persons suspected of Lottery Scamming.
The Americans kept up the pressure and in 2017 a number of persons were arrested and extradited to the United States. A member of the American Embassy was pretty clear about going after the Scammers and Attorneys!
If the Attorney defending the person, and no more… that is one thing… but! If the Attorney has anything more to do with it?
This has caused some major dislocation. However, so far no arrests of Attorneys has been made.
The Lottery Scam has caused an upsurge in violence in that various gangs, associated with one Scammer or another war over turf.
One would think that by 2014 everyone would have been aware of the Scam and known how to react. However, the aged, some suffering from dementia, some living isolated lives, seem unaware of it.
It has become such a major scam that it has caused Jamaica to be ranked with Nigeria in Frauds.