Computer Crime Research Center


Online lottery scams

Date: September 05, 2007

Everyone knows the saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

But not enough people follow it, authorities say.

The adage is a mantra of law enforcement officials investigating scams that fleece people every day.

Online lottery scams out of Canada and Eastern Europe, purchasing scams, phony loan companies — the Worcester Police Department’s financial crimes unit has seen residents fall victim to all of them.

Even a couple of Worcester police officers have been scammed.

Investigators have recently seen an increase in a utility scam in which electric or gas company accounts are opened without the knowledge of the victim.

“At one time a woman had nine accounts open in her name at different locations in the city with one utility company,” said Sgt. Gary J. Quitadamo, a detective with the financial crimes unit. The woman didn’t know about them until the company sought to collect money for the delinquent accounts.

An individual pays for a victim’s information and then uses it to open an account in the victim’s name, the sergeant said. “Then the accounts become delinquent and the victim receives either a notice of collection or sees it on their credit report,” he said. “That’s when we are called.”
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