Congratulations, you have won the UK Olympic Online Lottery! With your winning numbers from the April 23rd drawing you are now $3.5 million richer. Please contact us at the below email address and we will get started on remitting your prize money to you.This sounds like the dumbest thing anyone could ever fall for, but I definitely bit hook, line and sinker. I consider myself as educated as the next person, but just like most Americans, I was looking for that big payday. I started rehearsing all the things I wanted to tell my boss, looking at the house I was going to buy, the places I was going to travel and things I was going to buy.
During the excitement, I did not stop to question the fees they were charging me to handle the transactions. I just headed over to Western Union and sent the money as quick as I could. By the time I started to realize I was being scammed, they had already taken me for $1,800. When you think you have won millions, this seems like a really small sum to have to pay to receive your prize. Looking back that should have been the first red flag I noticed.
This happened to me about six months ago and since then I have researched a lot of these scams and have also noticed they are getting more coverage on the news here in the US. I guess it is somewhat comforting to know that I am not the only rube that fell for this scam. I just know that I am going to do all I can to make sure that no one else sends their hard earned money over to these criminals.
Most of these scams start with a simple email stating that you have won a lottery through an online drawing. Since we are spending more time online these days, it is plausible that one of the sites you were visiting sent entries on your behalf. Also, the emails clearly explain how you were entered for the lottery. After some research, I found it pretty amazing how easy it is for someone with the right knowledge to track your time on the internet. These people know the sites you visit and the groups you are affiliated with.
All of the emails they send you will be very official with the names of departments and agencies that handle the lottery. After I paid the initial fee for the lottery commission, they then referred me to the lawyer that would be handling my winnings in England. We spoke on the phone and it all sound very official. I even researched the firm he worked for. The man did exist and the firm's website had his picture and credentials listed.
The more questions I asked about fees, the more holes I started to find in his story. I found it especially disconcerting that he wanted the money sent Western Union and not through a banking institution. One of my friends happens to be a bank manager and when I mentioned all this to her, she started telling me about all the scams they had found just like this one.
These people took me for a large chunk of my money and not a day goes by that I do not get angry with myself for being taken in. Do not let this happen to you. Whenever you see emails like this in your inbox just delete them and never give them a second thought. I later found out that there is absolutely no such thing as an online lottery as it is illegal to sell lottery tickets over the internet.
The people that run these scams know that they have to play the numbers in order to be successful. They send thousands of these emails every day. Do not think that you would not get excited about the prospect of winning these large sums of money. They know what to say and how to make it all look legitimate, right down to having email addresses for real banks and law offices.
We all want to live the American dream and never have to worry about money, but I learned that there are no shortcuts and the only way to really realize that dream is to work hard and be smart. I would like to think this will not happen to anyone else but I know it will. Please spread the word and keep people's hard earned money where it belongs, in their pocket.