Residents pay out $65K to lottery scammers | Local News | #scams | #elderlyscams
MANCHESTER — Two Cape Ann residents recently each lost five-figure sums of money, totaling $65,000 to an increasingly prevalent lottery scam, according to Manchester Police.
The first victim, a Manchester resident, reported on March 23 losing $15,000. A few days later, a Gloucester resident who banks in Manchester reported loosing $50,000. Both victims said they were contacted by a scammer over the phone about supposed lottery winnings. To get their cash prizes, they were told they would need to pay a sum up front to cover “service charges” or “taxes and fees.”
Manchester police are investigating the first victim’s $15,000 loss, while Gloucester police have been notified about the victim who lost $50,000.
“It looks good that I’ll be able to recover the money,” said Manchester police Detective Michael Richard of the Manchester resident’s cash, “but I’m looking for the individual that’s behind the scam. There seems to be an uptick in scams going on.”
Manchester residents who fall for the scams are being asked to send checks to different states. Richard said scammers route their victim’s cash all around the country so it can’t be traced as easily.
“I’m getting calls from detectives in Illinois about it,” Richard said. “A call from just this morning was from a detective in New Jersey. I’m still trying to follow up on the details of the incident.”
Richard said he’s been working to get the word out about these recent waves of scam calls. Last week, he informed residents of the town’s elderly housing at The Plains and Newport Park on how to spot scammers.
“If you are randomly contacted about winning a lottery, the odds are high that it is a scam to extort money,” Manchester police Chief Todd Fitzgerald said in a prepared statement. “Scam operations use a variety of schemes to target people, especially seniors on limited incomes. We ask residents who receive offers from unknown individuals to please call the Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department so that we can assist them.”
Legitimate lottery wins never require upfront payments or service charges, and all cash prizes are taxed before the winner receives it.
The FTC advises the public to stay on high alert for these common lottery scams. In addition to up-front payments, other red flags include unsolicited offers, winnings that seem too good to be true and requests for personal information. Scammers typically pressure potential victims into making hasty decisions, claiming that “immediate action is required.”
If something seems too good to be true, the FTC warns, it most often isn’t. Take time to research the organization and its representatives before accepting any offers, and never give Social Security numbers, money, or credit card numbers to strangers.
The likelihood of law enforcement recovering lost funds sent to scammers via pre-paid debit card numbers, money orders or wire transfers is very low.
For questions regarding potential scams, call the Manchester Police Department at 978-526-1212.
Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or email@example.com.