The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and Connecticut Better Business Bureau have embarked on a campaign to prevent further monetary losses in fake lottery scams and sweepstakes.
Much of this type of telemarketing fraud originates in Jamaica. The USPIS has been working with Jamaica’s legislators and law enforcement in a program called Project “JOLT” (Jamaican Operations Linked to Telemarketing). The Project JOLT collaboration has disrupted and shut down several of the telemarketing operations, which funnel money to Jamaican gangs and help finance drug and weapons smuggling.
In a typical example, a caller will tell victims they have won a multi-million dollar international lottery or sweepstakes, but they first must send money to cover fake “fees” or “taxes” before they can collect their winnings. Victims are instructed to send cash by mail, stashed in a magazine or book to conceal the money. Unfortunately, the would-be lotteries and sweepstakes are fake, and the money disappears into the hands of Jamaican gangs.
The USPIS says money is then routed through a network of other victims here in the United States before it finally leaves the country. Typically it is mailed via Priority Mail Express, the post office’s fastest service, with the criminals’ goal of leaving investigators the shortest possible amount of time to intercept the money.
“Consumers lose tens of millions of dollars through telemarketing fraud,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz. “Project JOLT is working to stop the Caribbean operations, bring the criminals…
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