“I was stupid”: Mum falls victim to $225 million lottery scam
A single mother has fallen victim to a $225 million lottery scam after falling for a sob story and false promises of a portion of a multi-million-dollar jackpot win.
The mother who remains unidentified, from Birmingham in the UK handed over 5,000 pounds (AUD$9165) in a number of instalments to a scammer after he had tricked her into believing she had won a $225 million Euromillions jackpot.
“I wasn’t naive, I was stupid,” she told the Sunday Mercury. “In this day and age, I find it really hard not to help people. That’s my downfall – I’m still in the 1980s.”
The 44-year-old woman first met the conman at her workplace where he approached her and handed the mother a fake lottery ticket.
The man then asked her to confirm the win with the lottery agency via his phone, under the claim his English was poor.
When the mother spoke to a woman on the phone, it was “confirmed” the gambler had won the $225 million.
The victim and the con-artist maintained contact where he told her his mother needed money for an open-heart surgery in Pakistan that could just not wait for the money to come through.
Falling for the scam, the 44-year-old mother agreed to hand the man $9000 and in return was promised a reimbursement of $900,000.
The mother later met the man at a McDonald’s restaurant where she handed him the last instalment of her loan and brought along her brother, who admitted the whole situation felt fishy.
“He was very smooth, very plausible,” he explained.
“Half the time, he was in tears... ‘I can’t believe what you guys have done’ he told us. ‘I don’t even know you guys, and you’ve done this for me when my own friends won’t give me a tenner’.
“Yes, I smelled a rat, but, by then, my sister was in too deep.”
Up until the “last seconds,” the mother said she believed the con-artist was genuine.
Realisation only truly hit the 44-year-old on June 18 when she arrived at the Royal Bank of Scotland to meet with the “gambler” to get her reward.
However, just ten minutes before they were supposed to meet, the man’s phone “died.”
“I don’t think I could help someone now. I now look on anyone as possible scumbags. This has knocked me out, this has turned my house upside down,” she said.
The conman has not been located; however, the victim’s brother did manage to get a copy of the con man’s Drivers License during their brief meeting at McDonald’s.
In a brief statement, a spokesperson for the Camelot lotteries warned the public to be aware of scams: “If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.”