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Beware of the Powerball World Lottery scam

Published September 27. 2013 05:00PM

So you just received an instant message notification that you won the Powerball World Lottery. It says you have won $450,000 and a 2013 Nissan truck.

Don't send money to claim your prize. It's a scam that almost roped in one Palmerton gal.

Aletha Hoffman wants to alert everyone not to fall for the promise of riches.

It all started when she received a Facebook instant message from a friend telling Aletha that she received a message from the Facebook Powerball World Lottery that she had won and so did Aletha. Aletha saw her message which told her to contact Michael Barbara at ... attention Michael Barbara.

Aletha contacted her friend who told her that in order to receive her winnings, she was to have mailed a certified check for $650 for the certificate to claim her prizes. She didn't have the $650 to send.

Aletha sent an email to Michael Barbara and was asked to give her address, her Yahoo email address and what her yearly earnings were.

"I gave all the information except the right amount of my yearly earnings," she said.

Then she received text messages. She responded that she would give the $650 check when they delivered the truck and the money. The text messages and contact with Aletha stopped.

"I almost got scammed," she says with relief.

Now she wants to alert everyone not to respond to these messages.

"I thought everything was on the level because the first message was from my friend. But I learned that my friend never sent that message to me. Someone's hacking into our Facebook accounts," she says.

She contacted the Better Business Bureau (1-877-382-4357) to report it. She also contacted her bank.

According to World, to avoid getting scammed, remember these golden rules:

• In order to win a jackpot for a lottery you must have bought a ticket for the drawing, matched all the numbers and have the ticket in your possession.

• Lottery officials will NEVER contact you directly to inform you of a win.

• Lottery officials do not have a record of who buys tickets and do not have player contact details.

Lottery scams are criminal operations which exist purely to dupe innocent people into either handing over cash or personal details, under the guise that they have won a large prize. Unfortunately, people have lost life savings because these scams.

If you receive contact stating you have won a prize for a lottery you did not play, there is no way you can have won.

Scammers will use many methods to contact their unwitting victims, and when they send a scam out they will send it to many potential victims at the same time.

Scammers will contact victims through the following methods:

• Direct Mail a letter in the post claiming you have won a jackpot.

• Email They will phish thousands of email accounts and send the same email shot to them.

• Telephone You can receive an actual telephone call, from a person or a recorded message.

• Mobile Telephone You can receive a text message sent to millions of numbers at random.

• Social Media Scammers send "direct messages" to thousands of easily accessible social profiles.

Remember, NEVER give out personal information such as passwords to anyone.

There are also lottery winner scams, where scammers will claim to be previous lottery winners. They claim that they want to "gift" you money.

This is completely untrue if a lottery winner does wish to give people financial assistance, they do so through a Trust which will accept applications. They will NEVER make direct contact to you in this way,

Scammers take two approaches. They will either explain you have "been selected" to win a prize, and then they will request a "handling fee" once you have made contact with them.

The other approach they take is more devious. They will ask you for your personal details instead including your name, address, telephone and email, and sometimes proof of identification in the form of passport or driving license numbers.

"I just don't want anybody to fall for this and lose their hard-earned money," says Aletha.

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