More Lotto Scams Take San Franciscans

Categories: Crime
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We've written in the last week about two different convoluted lotto scams going down on the San Francisco streets. Well, they also come by phone, in a variation on the Nigerian scam.

A victim in Visitacion Valley was contacted on her landline and told she'd just won the lottery. The only thing between here and that prize were a few processing fees, actually $6,250 worth of them, payable by check to various addresses.

Police says they don't suspect the phone scams are related to the street ones, conducted by the modern-day counterparts of Boris and Natasha.

Police say not only is the person who sends the money scammed, but often the middleman who receives the check is, too. Often, they find a job listing online, in which they're told that an international company needs help processing money from clients. The people who think they're winning the lotto will send the sucker checks, who deposit it in their own account, take a 5 to 10 percent cut as commission, and then wire the rest onto the far-flung country. Of course, a week later, when the victim contacts the bank about the fraud, it's the middleman that often gets hit with ponying up the cash for the bank, says Inspector Marty Dito of the San Francisco Police Department economic crimes unit (formerly known as the fraud unit).

Usually the police can only report these phone scams to INTERPOL, he says.

Of course, we're assuming if you're reading the Snitch, you're probably savvy enough to steer clear of such deceit. But we'll put it out there anyway.
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