An elderly person who is quite near and dear to me has just been conned by a pack of these bastards; one of the many wolfpacks that run the mail-in "You Have Already Won" Sweepstakes. It's been both physically and mentally abusive and cost her a lot of money.
She is the least greedy person I know and thought she could help her family.
Oh, it was classic. She loves puzzles, so they started her off with an easy puzzle to do, and they kept sending her harder ones, telling her that only "X percent of people" have successfully completed this puzzle!" And, for good measure-"You're guaranteed to win something! To stay in the contest, just send us $$$. Remember, you've already qualified for a big money, but if you want a chance for the jackpot, you must send us $$$$."
Then, when the time was right, they gave her a call. A woman, of course, to make her feel reassured. She says she's a "sweepstakes lawyer." The prize is going to be delivered by courier in the next couple of days. and DON"T TELL ANYONE ABOUT THIS UNTIL YOU GET OUR CHECK. The couriers are standing by-Just send cash by Western Union for the taxes (Western Union is complicit in this-they ask no questions about any exchanges. They probably get no information from any US Govt agency telling them who are running scams around the world. If they do, they ignore it. And make no mistake, these operations are frighteningly well-organized, sophisticated and international in scope).
When I found out about all this, and told them I knew it was a scam, they tried to switch the racket to EXTORTION for NOT TAKING THE PRIZE MONEY.
I'm not going to write about this in more detail right now, as my blood pressure is already soaring. I have contacted the Federal Trade Commission, the Postmaster General and the FBI and none of them give me much hope there will be any redress.
If you or your family has also been victimized, I'd be happy to hear from you-by comment or private email-to commiserate and to maybe think of a way to get our g.d. government to not just "take this seriously," but to actually do something to stop it, which they seem unprepared or unwilling to do.