Jamaica: 90% of Lotto Scam Victims Not Reporting- CaPRI

KINGSTON, Jamaica – It is estimated that upwards of 90 percent of the victims being conned by the ongoing lottery scam are not reporting that they have been duped, according to a comprehensive research paper by the Caribbean Policy and Research Institute (CaPRI).

This data indicates that “non-disclosure,” therefore makes it difficult to determine the actual level of funds being channelled to Jamaica through this illicit activity.

Using figures from the Federal Trade Commission in the United States of America (USA), CaPRI highlighted that Jamaicans may be receiving up to US$80 million per annum from the scam; but, noted that this was conservative, given the high underreporting among victims.

The data is one of several key findings that will be presented by the Institute at the Lottery Scam Forum organised by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) in Kingston, Jamaica this Wednesday, November 7.

“There is often a view of victims of fraud that they are partly to blame, and that you can’t con an honest man or woman,” a section of the paper notes, quoting other researchers. “This belief may affect the proportion of persons who report being victims of this type of fraud,” the University of the West Indies, Mona- based CaPRI explains.

In the paper, CaPRI reports that men are more likely to fall prey to ‘advance fee fraud,’ a generic term the researchers use to describe the lottery scam and similar crimes; and that men are also more likely to lose more money to scammers than women.

The research states that most victims reside in areas of the USA where there is a high Jamaican population, especially New York, New Jersey and Florida; and that victims risk their savings and social security payouts, ostensibly, for large sums of cash they believe they won in a “lottery” or the right to claim the fortune of someone who recently died.

CaPRI highlights that while it is often reported that most of the victims are senior citizens who have access to disposable funds, “it is difficult to have confidence in that picture of the victims given the degree of underreporting.”

In addition to the CaPRI paper, the forum on Wednesday will seek to assess the impact on the financial sector, based on presentations from the Presidents of the Jamaica Bankers’ Association and the Jamaica Money Remitters’ Association.

The forum will also look at the implications for US/Jamaica foreign relations, which will be addressed by the US Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Pamela Bridgewater; and the Minister of State in the Ministry Foreign Affairs and
Foreign Trade, the Hon. Arnoldo Brown.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science Technology Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson; Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington; Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Paula Llewellyn; and Head of the Financial Investigations Division of the Ministry of Finance, Justin Felice, will look at the security implications and legislation to eradicate the fraudulent scheme.

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