Police in Escondido, California, have issued an alert to the Hispanic community warning them to beware of a new lottery scam that targets Spanish-speaking citizens.
Crooks work in pairs, backed-up by a third accomplice who offers them support via mobile phone.
According to the press release issued by Escondido Police Lieutenant Eric Skaja on Thursday, July 10, 2014, recent activity appears to be confined to the areas around East Valley Parkway, east of Ash Street.
The first crook—usually a woman—approaches the intended victim and claims to need help cashing a winning lottery ticket. Moments later the second crook—usually a male—arrives on the scene and offers their assistance.
The second crook then takes out his mobile phone and appears to ring the California Lottery to confirm the validity of the situation. The intended victim is then handed the phone and the third crook, posing as a lottery official, tries to convince them the claim is genuine and states an upfront payment will be required, to pay fees and taxes, before the payment can be released.
The first two scammers then ask the victim to withdraw a sizeable amount of money from their bank to pay the fees, promising to return up to five times the amount when the funds are released.
After the crooks have got the money they depart and the victim never sees or hears from them again.