You won the Jamaican lottery?! Don’t fall for it!

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There’s a new version of an old scam from the ’90s that Clark wants you to know about. In it, consumer writer Greg Dawson of The Orlando Sentinel reports that people are contacted by phone and told they’ve won the Jamaican lottery.

The catch? You have to pay upfront to patriate your winnings to the United States. But there is no Jamaican lottery.

Years ago, there were mailings about similar lotteries supposedly originating in Canada, Germany, Australia and elsewhere. And people lost untold millions trying to get their “winnings.”

“It’s just an incredible amount of money that’s coming down here,” a rep from the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica says. “We’ve got cases from Honolulu to Maine.”

One New Jersey resident lost nearly $250,000 in this Jamaican lottery scam. This woman was a retiree and that was every penny she had. After being scammed, her disillusionment reportedly drove her to take her own life.

This scam has become so competitive in Jamaica that gangs are fighting and killing each other to get what are called “sucker” or “reload” lists of people to target in the United States.

Here’s a simple rule: If somebody says you’ve won something, why are you paying money for it? Don’t do it!

The key here is to be your own skeptic, be your own police officer. Don’t let somebody sell into your desire for easy money. You’ll just lose your dough and there’s very little recourse after that.

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