May 01, 2005
Scamming the seniors
There's a special place in hell for people who do this.

From the RCMP Media Relations website:

Senior loses money after "winning" internet lottery

COQUITLAM - A 74 yr old man has lost $37,000 and is facing personal bankruptcy after responding to an e-mail notice he received seven weeks previous, congratulating him in winning $2.5 Million in the “PRIME LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL”.

It started in early March when the senior received a message that his e-mail address had been selected from a world wide web data base and that he and nine other lucky winners would share the $25 M prize money.

The man immediately replied to the message providing the required personal information to ensure that his prize money would be couriered to his home within 48 hours. The following day, he received another e-mail from the ‘courier company’ informing him that the cheque delivery was being blocked by the ‘British Inland Revenue Board’ pending payment of a 3 per cent tax. After replying that he wasn’t able to pay the tax, the courier company stated they had found a Canadian financier who would front him the money in exchange for 10 per cent of the lottery winnings.
The senior agreed to this arrangement, and received a $37,000 cheque by courier with instructions to wire the funds to an overseas account. This was later followed by another cheque for $72,000 with the same instructions. A week later, his bank notified him that the second cheque was actually a counterfeit item, and they had been successful in getting his money back. However, they weren’t able to recover his money from the first overseas transfer. (The first cheque was returned as a stolen item.)

The senior is devastated by the financial loss. He had hoped to use the money to help his disabled grandson.

These types of internet lottery scams are meant to lure victims in using their personal bank accounts to launder stolen or counterfeit cheques.
If you receive any unsolicited e-mails alerting you of winning something you didn’t enter, the best thing to do is press the ‘DELETE’ button.
We see that spam enter our mailboxes every day and most of us are internet savvy to know it's just a waste of bandwidth. But the older generation doesn't have that learning curve. Sure, it's easy to say he should have known better but poor guy was just trying to make a better life.

My parents and my Aunt are both getting on in years now and it's almost daily that I field questions about their email for them. My Mom is actually pretty good now and can actually trouble shoot a lot, but my Aunt is barely able to function on the computer. She started getting spam in large quantities recently and even though I have tried to explain the whole 'junk mail' theory to her, it doesn't seem to click. Now she's getting XXX-rated stuff, and trust me, 'beastiality' is not a word you ever want to hear come out of your 75 year old Aunt's mouth. I nearly fell off the couch when she told me that's what the site was sending her to.

Uh. Makes me feel so sad. That unfortunate man...not only did he screw up with his life savings, but I'll bet he's humiliated too. Rough stuff.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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