Indianapolis, In. — A new report by Better Business Bureau (BBB) says sweepstakes, lottery and prize schemes are devastating victims financially and emotionally with ever-evolving methods. These frauds concentrate on seniors, targeting them by direct mail, cold calling, social media, even text messages and smartphone pop-ups. BBB warns consumers to be on guard against these serious and pervasive frauds and their perpetrators.The report – “Sweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams: A Better Business Bureau Study of How ‘Winners’ Lose Millions Through an Evolving Fraud” – notes these scams bilked $117 million out of half a million Americans and Canadians in 2017 alone, with actual victims and losses likely numbering much higher. BBB received 2,820 sweepstakes and lottery scam reports in Scam Tracker in 2017, with a median loss of $500. Seniors are the most frequent target and suffer the largest losses by far in these scams, which the report found commonly originate in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Nigeria.The report recommends stronger law enforcement efforts on three fronts — in Jamaica, which has seen an upswing in violence related to lottery fraud profits; in the U.S., where law enforcement is urged to step up extraditions and prosecutions of overseas fraudsters operating in the U.S.; and globally, as law enforcement agencies worldwide are encouraged to take steps toward holding deceptive mailing organizations accountable and stopping fraudulent mail. It also urges Facebook and other social media platforms to take steps to weed out fake, fraudulent profiles and make fraud reporting easier.Among the Indianapolis area victims is a man in his late 40s who was contacted via social media by someone claiming to work for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. He was told he had won a prize, but had to first complete a form and submit payment for the $3,500 delivery fee. Being on disability, the man submitted the payment in installments through wire transfer. While he did not pay the full amount, he did end up losing $3,100.Among the report’s key findings:The majority of lottery or sweepstakes scam victims are between 65 and 74 years old. Among that age group, people who recently experienced a serious negative life event, and who expect their income in the near future to remain steady or decline, are even more likely to be victimized.Sweepstakes/lottery fraud can strike through many channels – phone calls, text messages, pop-ups on a smartphone’s Internet browser, social media and mailings.In 2017, 2,820 individuals reported sweepstakes and lottery scams to BBB Scam Tracker. These reports show a median loss of $500, with wire transfer as the most frequent method of payment.Jamaica is a major source of “cold calls” to victims who are told they have won money. Although similar calls come from Costa Rica, the scam has had a major impact in Jamaica, where the amount of money generated by lottery fraud has resulted in gang wars between rival fraud groups, leading to a dramatic spike in violence. More than 95 percent of reported fraud in Jamaica involves lottery or sweepstakes scams.The report was written by C. Steven Baker, BBB International Investigations Specialist. Baker is the retired director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Midwest Region.In his role with BBB, Baker is working with an alliance of five BBB’s, including the St. Louis office, in analyzing and reporting on some of the most pervasive fraud issues that impact American consumers. Studies on puppy scams, tech support scams, and romance scams he authored were met with worldwide media coverage.BBB offers the following tips for consumers to avoid being caught in lottery or sweepstakes fraud:True lotteries or sweepstakes don’t ask for money. If they want money for taxes, themselves, or a third party, they are most likely crooks.Call the lottery or sweepstakes company directly to see if you won. Publishers Clearing House (PCH) does have a sweepstakes but does not call people in advance to tell them they’ve won. Report PCH imposters to their hotline at 800-392-4190.Check to see if you won a lottery. Call the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries at 440-361-7962 or your local state lottery agency.Do an internet search of the company, name, or phone number of the person who contacted you.Law enforcement does not call and award prizes.Talk to a trusted family member or your bank. They may be able to help you stay in control of your money in the face of fraudster pressure.
New Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce is confident British managers can still get top Barclays Premier League jobs despite the influx of foreign coaching talent. However, Allardyce remains convinced that, if he is good enough, a Briton can still get to the top in the Premier League if given the chance by an owner. He said: “(We won’t know) until such time as a new owner at one of the big clubs is brave enough to appoint a manager that’s done exceptionally well – and there are many of them. “Half the problem is that the British managers who do well in the Championship – and that is being infiltrated by foreign coaches now – only get a chance to manager in the Premier League by promoting the team that they are actually working for. “Very rarely do they go and pluck one from the lower leagues. I don’t know who was the last one – was it Brendan (Rodgers), where Swansea gave him a chance? “But we all face that challenge and if you are good enough and you believe in yourself, I think you can eventually get there. “I started at Limerick in 1991 – who thought I’d be here?” However, Allardyce admits that the presence of so many important coaches in the English top flight significantly increases the challenge for their home-grown counterparts. He said: “We are creating a huge monster in the Premier League, which I have enjoyed working in since 2001. But it has its repercussions as far as English, British coaches, managers, physios, players – there’s a legacy to bear with it. “But we all enjoy where we are and we all enjoy the publicity it brings us. Certainly, it’s the biggest brand in the world of sport today, so it brings everybody from the world to want to work in this country, so we have too challenge ourselves against the best of them.” Press Association The 60-year-old, who once famously remarked he would never be employed by a top-four club because his name is not “Allardici”, was handed his latest rescue mission, this time at the Stadium of Light, when he was appointed as Dick Advocaat’s replacement last week. As he did so, German Jurgen Klopp was taking up the reins at Liverpool and in the process, joining an exclusive club of elite overseas bosses, including Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal, Arsene Wenger and Manuel Pellegrini, plying their trade in England.
Lee Cattermole and Danny Graham confronted McClean, who played for Sunderland between 2011 and 2013, before McClean was taken away by team-mate Craig Gardner. Referee Martin Atkinson mentioned the incident in his official report, but did not see McClean’s initial clenched fist gesture to the Sunderland fans. The FA studied the video and decided to warn the Republic of Ireland international who had been jeered by the visiting fans during the game. They sung ‘f*** the IRA’ following his refusal to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt while playing for them against Everton in 2012. He claimed he was ‘hung out to dry’ by the club, insisting he was not allowed to tell his side, and finally explained his reasons in an open letter to then Wigan chairman Dave Whelan when playing for the Latics in November last year. McClean also refused to face the English flag while on West Brom’s American tour in the summer and was told by boss Tony Pulis he must show more respect. The 26-year-old has already confirmed he will not wear a poppy while playing for the Baggies next month. He told the club: “We are coming up to Remembrance Day and I won’t wear a poppy on my shirt when those games come around. People say that by not wearing a poppy, I’m being disrespectful, but they don’t ask why it is that I choose not to wear it.” Press Association The Baggies midfielder has escaped a fine or suspension while both clubs have been reminded of their responsibilities following the melee which was sparked by McClean’s actions. The ex-Sunderland midfielder appeared to taunt the travelling fans at the end of West Brom’s 1-0 Barclays Premier League win on Saturday, which sparked an angry reaction from the Black Cats’ players. The Football Association have issued West Brom’s James McClean with a formal warning after his celebration against Sunderland.
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC): The West Indies Cricket Board said on Wednesday it plans to pump more than half a million United States dollars into the women’s game, a move that will see an increase in player-retainer contracts and fees starting next month. In a media release, the regional governing body for the sport said it would move the number of player retainer contracts from 11 to 15, and would also augment sponsorship payments, match fees and captains’ allowances. The increases are set to cost the board US$600,000, an injection of cash which chief executive Michael Muirhead believes will stimulate the women’s game. “We are hoping this new package will serve as an additional incentive for the current set of women, and will serve as a drawing card to more women to be attracted to cricket,” said the Jamaican, who relinquishes the post next month. The deal was hammered out along with the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) and, according to the WICB, it will also benefit non-retained players as well. Former West Indies batsman Wavell Hinds, the current WIPA president and CEO, said the new compensation package for the women is “well deserved”. “Our women’s senior team has been a solid elite performing group over the last decade. As such, the improvement and security in their compensation package are well deserved,” Hinds said.
Fears over the ‘suspicious deaths’ of Victoria Zarzar, Harry Greaves Jr., and Guarantee Trust Bank-Liberia Limited Managing Director, Dan Orogun gripped members of the House of Representatives yesterday.The lawmakers were interrupted in session, but thanks to Providence that Presiding Officer, Rep. George Wesseh Blamoh’s hammer broke the silence while debating on the causes of those deaths.The Chairman of the House’s National Defense, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, and Rep. Munah Pelham-Youngblood of the Committees on Gender Equity, Child Development and Social Services and Foreign Affairs, in separate letters, argued that the unexplained deaths are quite worrisome and needed their attention as the Liberian populace is not only filled with fear but also confused over the mysterious deaths.“Mr. Speaker and honorable colleagues, this august body has oversight authority, as such we must make sure that the public is protected at all times as these information, when given, will help alleviate the fear the many questions that have been asked in and around the country by our citizens, investors and other foreign nationals that are residing within our borders,” Rep. Youngblood wrote.The Montserrado District #9 lawmaker wants the House’s Plenary to summon the Justice Minister, the Solicitor General, and the Commissioner of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to give detailed information about the deaths of Ms. Victoria Zarzar, Cllr. Michael Allison, Mr. Dan Orogun and the gruesome death of Mr. Harry Greaves Jr., former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC).Maryland County lawmaker, Dr. Chambers, wants the Director of Executive Protection Service (EPS), the Director of Police and the Justice Minister to also be summoned to provide updates on the state of the nation’s security, investigations surrounding all suspicious deaths and what mechanisms have been put in place to curb these embarrassing, gruesome and barbaric acts that are becoming prevalent.“Hon. Speaker and illustrious colleagues, considering the closeness to the Executive Mansion, an area where keen and vigilant monitoring of the movement of individuals is expected, people including myself are wondering how these incidents were not captured by state security experts, and what measures are being rigorously pursued to prevent these unusual occurrences,” Dr. Chamber wrote.Meanwhile, the Plenary of the House of Representatives has mandated its committees on Defense, National Security and Judiciary to advise Plenary in one week as to who should be summoned and what the Legislature should do to ensure the safety and security of the nation.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)