Nov 26, 2013 1:27 PM by MELISSA CANONE
Jamaican Phone Scam Continues in Acadiana
KATC continues to receive calls in reference to variations of the Jamaican Phone Scam, which has been operating in south Louisiana for a couple of years, according to President/CEO Sharane Gott.
Occasionally, the scammers use emails or letters through the USPS, but the scam is still primarily run through phone calls where the Jamaicans claim to be Publishers Clearinghouse and ask for people to send wire money or use Green Dot MoneyPak cards, as it always has.
Gott said they still receive complaints about the scam, but it's hard for the FBI or FTC to shut the operation down because it is run out of the country.
The BBB reminds everyone that it is illegal for foreign lotteries or sweepstakes to operate within the U.S. and it is also illegal for U.S. citizens to participate in these sweepstakes or lotteries.
BBB offers the following advice to avoid being taken by these scams:
Be very suspicious of advance fee loan calls. Even if the loans are real, interest rates can be extremely high or the business can be an outright scam. Always do business with local companies with brick and mortar locations when possible.
- Try to avoid payday loans or other high interest loans at all costs, especially from online companies. Try to find other means to meet financial obligations, such as short-term financial help from family or friends.
- Don't let the promise of extra cash or lower monthly payments get in the way of your good judgment about whether the cost you will pay for the loan is really worth it. (Know how much the loan will cost you at the date of pay off.)
- Be extremely cautious when giving out any personal information online such as Social Security and bank account numbers. Be alert for websites that force you to give that information before even telling you whether you qualify for a loan.
- You must enter to win. Remember lottery tickets must be purchased and sweepstakes must be entered to win. Sweepstakes usually involve application paperwork that you have personally completed and government grants have a thorough application process as well.
- Never pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. If you have to pay to collect your winnings, you're not winning. Legitimate sweepstakes don't require you to pay "insurance," "taxes" or "shipping and handling charges" to collect your prize.
- Never wire money. Scammers pressure people to wire money through commercial money transfer companies because wiring money is the same as sending cash. When the money's gone, there's very little chance of recovery Con artists recommend these services so they can get their hands on your money before you realize you've been cheated.
- Never provide personal information. Scammers can be very charming and charismatic and will lure or pressure for personal information, which could be used for identity theft.
For more information go to the BBB website at www.acadiana.bbb.org or call (337) 981-3497.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.