Bogus Lottery, Other Scams Target the Deaf

by Francine Huff
October 17th, 2008

You’re probably aware that scam artists regularly target senior citizens. And while you’re probably being more diligent about guarding your personal information to avoid being a victim of identity theft, keep in mind that some of these scammers are looking to tug on your heartstrings.

Paying for Prizes
People who are deaf and hard of hearing, and groups that work with them, are being targeted by con artists, according to the AARP Bulletin Today. One such scam involves sending emails that claim the recipient is the winner of a “lottery for the deaf” that is supposedly sponsored by the National Association for the Deaf (NAD), which is a legitimate organization. The emails say the prize is $50,000 but can’t be paid out until the winner sends a check for $1,500 to cover taxes and fees.

Of course the NAD isn’t affiliated with this scheme, and no legitimate lottery is going to request money in order for you to collect a prize. Keep in mind that when you pay taxes on anything—including sweepstakes and lottery winnings–the money goes directly to the government, not to some third party.

Skip the Surveys
Another scam involves emails from people claiming to be soliciting donations or taking surveys for organizations that work with the hard of hearing. The real purpose of these emails is to scam people out of money or get their personal financial information.

The best way to avoid being scammed is to never respond to unsolicited emails (or phone calls) requesting money or personal information no matter how much they touch your emotions. If you want to donate to an organization for the deaf or any other group, contact them directly. Investigate the background of charities you want to give to at the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Also, never send money to anyone you don’t know or didn’t initiate contact with in the first place.

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