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For years, we’ve been hearing about lottery scams: the imposter who convinces you that you’ve won the lottery (you didn’t) – and all you have to do is pay some fees to collect your millions (you won’t). And for years, we’ve been hearing about lottery scams that originate in Jamaica, where telemarketing lottery scams became a cottage industry in some parts of the island.

Here at the FTC, we’ve helped criminal law enforcers investigate these types of cases. I’m happy to report that our sister agency, the Department of Justice, recently extradited a Jamaican man on charges that he was part of an international lottery scheme targeting older adults in the U.S. He’s the first person to be extradited in this kind of case.

Here’s the story:

According to the indictment, a 28-year-old Jamaican man, Damion Bryan Barrett, called people in the U.S., spoofing phone numbers to make it look like the calls came from the U.S., and often claiming they were calling from the IRS or Federal Reserve, or a well-known sweepstakes company. Barrett, the indictment says, told people they had won cash and prizes – which they could collect if they sent up to thousands of dollars in “fees.” Then, Barrett and his colleagues allegedly told people to send money to middle-men in southern Florida, who sent the money on to Jamaica. But, says the indictment, not a single person actually got any money from their – ahem – winnings.

If he’s convicted, Barrett faces prison time, a fine, and mandatory restitution to the victims of his scam. But whatever happens in court, this extradition shows how serious the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners are about cracking down on people who try to defraud American consumers. That’s good news for all of us.

Meanwhile, if you get a call or email that you’ve won something, follow this advice: never send money. And report the call or email so we can help in the fight against these scammers.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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Thank you for sharing your experience and for filing a complaint with the FTC. It's important to submit a complaint because investigators from all over the country access the FTC's complaint database. To see if the FTC has taken action against a person or entity, you can check FTC Cases and Proceedings at ftc.gov/enforcement.

I have been "foolishly, fooling around" with these sweepstakes offers and contests for over a year now and so far, so bad. I have gained nothing but a very high postage bill, learnied that I'm an easier 'sucker' than I thought, losing $money$ that I could not afford to lose and extreme embarrassment for taking these games and false words seriously. But, I think there is something in many of us who want to win so badly that we tend to be blind to the obvious underhanded tricks that are being played upon us and can only see the positive for a gleaming moment in time where "You Are A Multi-Millionaire" and "You, personally, have beat all the odds (and this is no mistake)and your check will be delivered AFTER you send another $20 processing fee the check will soon be at your door!" In retrospect, I realize that I wanted to believe this to be true so badly because it seemed it would be the solution to all my problems and the people who I cared for as well! I actually began to believe I was going to win and to believe every 'official looking' document I received even though they were still asking for $20 to $60 in 'fees' in order to give me these millions of dollars in cash. It is human I suppose, and in my case very impulsive, so its something I have to stay away from because it is so inviting. It began, initially, when I entered ONE Sweepstakes - for real and then in a few weeks time I was receiving mail from every sweepstakes scam artist, seers, forune tellers, astrologers and even lots of applications for new credit cards. I figured, hey, maybe they know something I don't - I must have won something or they wouldn't be offering me these cards with my credit rating! I am ASTOUNDED by the huge numbers of scammers out there these days. I have received approximately 20 to 30 pieces of mail a day from various scammers. And these people must be making pretty great money doing this because their mailings are extremely elaborate, fancy and impressive (usually) in their look of authenticity and had to have cost a pretty penny to mass mail these multipage hypes and announcements. I confess to having actually sent one group $250 (to Jamaica, no less) after they used their company credit card (I was told) to pay off my small but many credit card bills so that they would get cleared so that I could use ALL MY AVAILABLE CREDIT to send to them in order to win these millions of dollars! I was not sharp enough to realize that once these payments reached the bank of the poor person who actually owned this account number would reject the charges and it all cam right back into my lap with a flat, huge THUD! Another thing, and I do not mean to be bigoted, but most of these calls or mailings came from the state of New York and ALl of the people I spoke to had a very heavy foreign accent. I think this is more than a coincidence and I really resent that these people have come to this country, using our basic freedoms and rights of free enterprise, in order to RIP OFF their newly adopted fellow countrymen and women for every dime they can from us. Welcome to the home of the brave and free - ha! PLEASE, LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES AND DO NOT TRY TO DEAL WITH THESE RUTHLESS PEOPLE!! You will only lose or put yourself in possibly highly unpleasant and possibly illegal situations and...YOU CANNOT WIN!! Regretfully, Your Friend and Fellow EX Game Player.

To: Xmy<3 - I am in 100% in agreement with what you just samid in reference to the authorities who seem to be ignoring these highly illegal and definitely immoral (or amoral) things that are going on in from of everyone's faces, each and every day. It's true, you can sort of get a hint of the deception of many of the scammers but what about our authorities who are supposedd to be protecting us from exactly this kind of insult and out right thievery!! Do these branches of the law actually exist or are we getting scammed by them as well?

I was a recipient of a flyer from Bill Abbotts in Monticello stated I had won 5,000 dollars, found out many people received the same thing, was a scam to get you to come to their dealership, this is fraud and I wanted to report it

Please report your experience at ftc.gov/complaint so it becomes part of the FTC database that's used by investigators nationwide. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We can't address complaints that you discuss in the blog comments.

A classmate on Facebook asked me if I had heard from CDFA? Told him no and what is CDFA. He told me it was Community of Domestic Financial Assistance. He said a UPS manager came to his house with "win money". He said he saw my name on their "win List" that's why he asked me if I had heard from them. He told me to befriend a Tim Alan Dick on Facebook and he will get the ball rolling. When I looked Tim Alan Dick I was surprised to see a picture of Tim Allen the actor. After several minutes of questions it finally came down that Tim wanted me to pay $1750.00 up front to collect my winnings of $200.000.00. The $1,750 was to keep the IRS from getting 59% of my win money. When I asked why the money couldn't be deducted from the win money since the money was suppose to delivered in cash he said no. When I told him I didn't have $1,750 to pay up front, he then asked me how did I have. Making a long story short I didn't complete this farce, I have the information and a telephone number that is associated with this thing. Now I have to deal with my so-called classmate friend on Facebook. I can't believe he would do something like this.

If you get a call or email that you’ve won something, follow this advice: never send money. Please report the email so we can help in the fight against these scammers.

876 55209433 is Jamaica theinternational gaming company phones you, yes in B.c. canada too. They state you have big winnings. After 8 calls a day you are instructed to send a money gram to cover. delivery costs. Religion, wonderful warm conversations etc ensue, but ultimately the wonderful christian man wants a moneygram so your winnings can be sent to you. They say they c are calling from Toronto and will even come to your home to drive you to the bank to get funds to ensure delivery of your winnings. After the police c were contacted and even phoned the man they still call. Be wary. If you win you don, t send money to help process it. This was pitched to an 87 year old wonderful man who believed with religion and offers to call h I m back even giving you a number,,87655209433. But the call reroutes to Jamica and then you have to pay the long distance rates to this number. Please tell people you care about this is a SCAM...

ive even gotten real checks fro 4600.0 saying to deposit or get it cashed and send 4000 to cover taxes then I would receive 248000.00 later

Don't cash a check you get from a stranger and don't send them money. It can be hard to tell that a check is a fake. It can take weeks for a bank to discover that. You are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check. If the check is a fake, you have to repay the bank.

I just reported to the FTC a message that I picked up on our home phone this afternoon saying that my husband, whom he named, had won 2nd prize in the Mega Millions Lottery. He said he was calling from the "state Lottery", not the PA State Lottery, gave his name and a phone number. The biggest red flag with this is, we don't play the lottery! Secondly, when you do, they don't call to tell you if you've won, you're supposed to check your #'s. AND, they certainly don't call if you've won "second prize". The man leaving the message had an accent, did leave a name and a phone #. BE AWARE!!! Wouldn't be wonderful if all these scammers put there efforts into something to help humankind and improve the world, what a better world we'd be living in.

I have recently fallen for the scam that I have won 5,500,000 and I to was asked to send money to the total of almost 1,000.I am so ashamed I sent money that I could not afford to have sent i am disabled and suffering from a disease that is not very well known and no known cure for it my medication costs are unbelievable and for someone to scam me like that just kills me. I have been so down, i lost my electricity now and soon to lose my water cuz of this scam I am to ashamed to tell anyone or to ask for help. i just can not believe i let this happen I have even considered ending my life over this.At least i know no I am not the only one this has happened to but still makes me feel no better.

CJ, please don't be too down on yourself for falling for the scheme, obviously they do it in a way that has proven itself to work many times over which isn't your fault. As far as losing your electric, and other problems while being disabled, I know from experience as I am also disabled and can't work, but there are many great programs out there to help people like us who can't work. You can call the power company and asked to be placed on the Green Cross program that will prevent them from shutting down your electric. They will send you forms for your doctor to sign but won't shut you off in the mean time. There are also many programs out there with social services in your area that can also refer you to private entities who also help the disabled with things like rent and bills etc etc. The first thing I did was contact social services, went in for a half hour meeting and came out with a big smile knowing I would be OK and wouldn't lose my home or power, so at least I am able to hopefully find work now from home I can do on my computer, like advanced Internet programming I went to college for and graphics etc on my own computer here. There are too many good people out there who do understand and too many great programs that are more than happy to help. At least you can always do the same for someone in the future once you are back on your feet again. Wishing you the best! Again, don't blame yourself as you are only human like everyone else who fell for the same scam. Try to get yourself on a list of victims at least so maybe when they do catch and jail the crooks involved you may have a chance of getting some of your money back or at least so they can convict the crooks for scamming you as well. The more victims proven the better so they can take care of the criminals once and for all. Take care! :)

A dear friend's mother just friended me, but it wasn't her at all. She said she saw my name on a CFDA winner's list and gave me the contact information to claim my winnings. I was directed to what looked like a legitimate Facebook page for the supposed CFDA. After a whole lot of back and forth he said UPS was going to deliver my $90,000 winnings tomorrow. All I had to do was pay a thousand dollars upfront for the IRS. I said I was in Canada so didn't need the IRS. He said I still had to pay it so I said to take it out of the ninety thousand dollars he was delivering. He said they had to deliver the money "intact". As soon as I told him it was a known scam my "friend" suddenly disappeared and he went quiet.

Why do people do this and, even more importantly, why does Facebook let them get away with it?

my mother received a letter and a check from RDD FREIGHT INT'L INC, JAMAICA, NY 11434 the check amount 8,897.00 saying she won. contact Tim Johnson 276 614 5582 claim agent and then Joey G. Field(promotions manager) 1-647-686-1085

we did not get credit card till now

I was contacted by a friend on facebook. She added me as a friend again so I thought her facebook page had somehow changed. It had her profile picture on the request so I accepted. She said she had won 150,000 from the CFDA. It wasn't her at all she had her profile hacked. I looked up scam alerts before I used the phone number she gave me. I saw the alert and I contacted the authorities with the phone number and the information I had about this scam.

Yup, I never got a fake lotto scam, but I know, any fees for processing the winnings... THEY TAKE OUT OF THE WINNINGS, not your credit card. I cannot enforce this enough. Why do people keep thinking they have to pay money to get money? Fees are taken out of the winnings, so that's food for thought. Instead of getting "$15,000,000 just send us $1,000 for processing" It's "You've won $15,000,000! All processing fees will be deducted from your winnings, with you winning $14,998,000!" No payments required.

I've been asked to send $250 to Nigera today by Western Union and I will have a check for $600,000 delivered to my door. The womam's name is Annette

I just received the same call from the 876 number from a man who called himself Mr. Johnson, claiming that I won the Mega Million when I haven't even played! When I mentioned this, he said I had been chosen from my purchases in stores and paying bills on time etc. He said that I'd been chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ to win this prize!! He wanted me to remain on the line while I drove to CVS to get a money gram for $395 to pay taxes for the prize and said they would arrive at my house 3pm today with my 1.9 million dollars and white Mercedes Benz which sounded very convincing. I was really skeptical of this. I told him I was not interested and he just hanged up the phone! Game over. Glad I didn't fall for this scam. Beware if you receive a call from this number from Jamaica 876-458-1582!!!! DO NOT FALL FOR IT!!! IT'S A SCAM!!!

I received a text from a friend about money that i may be entitled to.. she gave me a number to text An agent.. which against my better judgement i did.. my name was on the list to receive a certain amount.. all i had to do was pay for delivery fees and etc she agreed that she did it and received money.. and also agreed to lay out the money for me to receive mine..i told her that if this was a scam and if didn't get any money i wouldn't be paying her back. Won can i speak to and show the certificate to that will tel me if this is real or a scam

Usually, if someone says you won money, but then they ask for money, it's a scam. They might say they need delivery fees, or taxes or customs fees or something else, but they want YOUR money first, before they give you anything. That's a big sign of a scam. If you really win a prize, you should get the prize.

I know i have been scamed to lately I sent over 2200.00 and they keep badgering me and I did go to the police and they havent did nothing about it and it they said I would have my wining on the 12th of this month and then they come back and tell me it been hijacked in cutoms and you have to pay this amount and I'm not paying no more and the lady or who ever she is say calm down every time I try to say something I'm so tired of it and it like it on going every time and its like they want more and more of my money I not going to back down and send anything more

I have her number as on my phone and she contacted me through facebook and her name is Tasha Mathews and her number is (414)671-9034 and I got scamed out 2200.00 just recently and it like they make it sound so real and I wish they would put a stop to theses people and I did call the police department about this too I just hope one day I get my money back since I don't want another person to get scam out more money

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I just received a letter from "BONO LOTTO" saying I had won $4,500,000. I am very skeptical & want to know if you have heard of this one. It is from Spain, or so it says. There is a telephone# 011 34 665 096 272. I would like to report it, but don't know where.

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don’t go into the law enforcement database.

*began in 2017 *contacted and told I had won a lottery *2.5 million /new car *fees required *instructed to place money in envelope *calls continued with promise of delivery *more fees required *personal info. requested from me *knew my personal struggles/husband with cancer *promised help for my husband
*every two weeks required more money for fees *offered information with BBT Bank for payment * sent over $100,000 dollars in the last 18 mo. *no receipt of any winnings *accused them of scamming *received call from U.S. Treasury stating he was David Kautter sent photo/badge # *he promised to help
*he started asking for fees Is there any help out there? I was only trying to help my family.

For the second time in a month I have been informed that my mobile number has won 6.5 million pounds GB. I erased the first email, but I must be really lucky for my number to come up again ....... I erased the email again ..... Be careful, nobody gives money away to random mobile numbers;

I received a letter stating that I had won millions of dollars in the Mega Millions Spanish sweepstakes international lottery program that was held on 27th May 2019 (so which is it - sweepstakes or lottery?). That I needed to call 011-34-685-260-984 to make my claim and that I would have to pay fees for wire transfer and for home delivery. I did not take it seriously - it sounded too much like scam phone calls that I had received from Jamaica. I looked up the phone number and saw a picture of the same letter that was sent to someone last year - labeled scam.

Have had 2 messages on messenger saying I have win fb promotion blocked and reported first one now I have just got another from different person

I got this email today from this source: internetbanking @privateinternet bankplc. com supposedly a person won $1.5 Billion in lotteries and was giving me $1.5 million. I am not going to respond as he sent me supposedly his contact info and a Barclays Bank form to transfer money to. Supposedly his name is Tom Price, Head of Treasury Dept with Barclays in London. address on his card: International Private Banking. P.O. Box 738, Eagle Court. 75 King Street, Hammersmith, London, W6 9HY (the card says: ID No. 0021) I truly believe this is fake. Anyone else get such a thing?

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