.

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Lottery Scam Targeting Elderly

Elderly victims cleaned out of $170,000 collectively in south suburbs from UK lottery scam.

If you didn’t buy a lotto ticket in the United Kingdom lottery but are getting badgered with emails and phone calls that you’re a winner, contact your local police department immediately.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart warns residents not to be fooled by recent scams where “winners” are being told they are entitled to a large lottery cash prize without ever having purchased a ticket.

Read more senior crime prevention tips on avoiding of becoming a victim of ruse burglars.

During the last six months, an 80-year-old victim lost $90,000 and a 74-year-old victim lost $82,000 in the lottery scam. Both victims are from the south suburbs.

Scammers have been contacting victims, mostly senior citizens, by phone, fax, email and letter—telling them about their “jackpot.” The sheriff’s office says that some of these letters include phony seals and certificates, like the sample included with this story.

Before victims can collect their prize, money needs to be sent either via Western Union or cashier’s check to a foreign address to pay for additional taxes or handling charges. 

In some instances, scammers contact the victim again and mention there was a mistake on the tax calculation and more money must be sent, Dart said.

The Cook Sheriff’s Police Department believe this lottery scam is being played out all over the country and has received numerous calls about it.

Community members can avoid becoming victims by taking the following precautions when getting unsolicited phone calls or other communications:

  • You cannot win a lottery without having entered it.
  • Remember, there are no upfront fees to pay for a legitimate lottery win.
  • Be suspicious if contacted by a lottery agency, especially one in another country.
  • If contacted by telephone, do not give any personal information such as credit card numbers or bank account numbers—no matter how nice or convincing the callers sound. Hang up immediately and contact local law enforcement.
  • Review these crime prevention tips and develop a plan with aging family members on what to do should they receive unsolicited phone calls or emails trying to con them out of money or seek personal information.
  • If you believe you are a victim or suspect an elderly family member of being a victim, call your local police department or Cook County Sheriff’s Police at 708-865-4896.

Source: Cook County Sheriff's Department

The Oak Lawn Police Department is also available to come and speak at senior groups on crime prevention and other safety tips to avoid becoming victims of scams and ruse burglars.

For more information about the senior crime prevention program, contact OLPD Detective Tom Cronin by email or by phone at 708-499-7845.

anthony December 27, 2012 at 07:29 PM
LOL they have no authority in other countries 15 year old crime spree and our local guys hop on a bandwagon.. However some good can come of it .... Beyond the advice mentioned NEVER DEPOSIT unknown checks sent in the mail Never fill out personal info forms thru emails.. Never answer 809,248,649 area codes.. Maybe 100 more types of scams not including the internet or american companies... They need a team of 200 guys...
George Pickett December 27, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Watch ouit for scams when they say to send money to win money! A lot of those scams originate in Canada and some of those off-shore island nations! Just remember if it sounds to good to be true...it isn't! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »