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Zoey_JD, Criminal attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23562
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I received a call last week stting I had won $500,-000 from

Customer Question

I received a call last week stting I had won $500,-000 from an International Sweepstakes sponsored by HSBC. They requested a wire $1900 as a refundable deposit. I wired it to the Phillipines to Emma Joya Zablan. A couple days later he called and needed another $1200
when it arrived in the U.S. I told him I didn't have anymore money he said to call
Special Agent Donald Keefer at the US Lottery and gaming Commission Consumer Clearing
@(###) ###-####and in forfeiting y prize they would refund my refundable deposit within 3-4 weeks. Tht was on Aug. 9th. I have contiually tried that number and get get them to answer. I have attempted to contaact Ryan Cohen, attorney, @ Cohen, Baxter & Associates and get him to answer either. I feel like a fool in having fallen for this. Can you help me get my money back? I sure hope so.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 2 months ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. Are you online now?

Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 2 months ago.

Unfortunately, all of the contacts you have been given were provided to you by the scammer and they are all just confederates of the scammer.

There is no such agency as the US Lottery and Gaming Commission. There are no Federal lotteries. Lawful US lotteries are run by individual states. Further a US lottery would never involve the Philippines, which is not US territory.

There is no such thing as an international lottery. The only way someone from the US can win a lottery sponsored by a bank in the Philippines would be to go to the Philippines and buy the ticket in person over there.

Secondly, you cannot win a contest you have never entered. Scammers always want you to believe that you can be picked out of thin air and become a contest winner. You can't. You must always enter a contest to win it.

Lottery winners are paid out of the proceeds of lottery tickets. If you don't buy your ticket you can't win, and you must present a valid ticket to claim your winnings. It's against Federal law to buy lottery tickets online. You must buy them in person from agents at specially designated locations.

Sweepstakes winners must complete an entry form and sign up for the contest. Sweepstakes also require you to submit your half of the entry form as proof before you can claim your prize. Your half of the form with your winning number matches the information the company has on the other half which was pulled from the drawing.

Finally, when you win a real contest, the money already belongs to you. So you NEVER have to pay anything up front to receive something that's already yours.

In any legitimate contest, if there were indeed any transfer expenses, the contest would simply deduct it from your money which they already have and just give you a check for the rest. But with a scam contest, if you notify them, they will ask for money up front for taxes, insurance, courier or transfer fees, or they will give you a partial check and ask you to deposit it and use the money to pay a third party. There's no need for any of that with a real contest.

The up front fee is the #1 sign of a contest scam.

Report the fraud to the FBI at Block any further contact. Send no money. And follow this rule of thumb:

Any unsolicited out of the blue message from a stranger with news that is much too good to be true is going to be a scam, each and every time.

Can you get your money back? Well, if you can find these thieves, you can sue them for their fraud or you can have them prosecuted and get restitution through the criminal courts. But as you've already learned, scammers lie about all of their contact information, and once they have your money, they just disappear into cyberspace. So finding them is a job for law enforcement, and even they don't know where to start, because your scammers can be anybody in the world.

All the same, report them to your police and to the FBI as I indicated earlier. In the worst case scenario, if the thieves come up with nothing, your unreimbursed losses are tax deductible when you are the victim of a crime. So you can get something back, at least, in the form of a deduction when you file your 2016 income taxes.

Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 2 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

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