May 15, 2009
San Francisco police are alerting the public about a Hong Kong lottery telephone scam that targets people in the Chinese community. There have been two reported incidents in which the caller, speaking in Chinese, announces that the person is the winner of a lottery that promises a $2 million windfall. The caller then asks for money for taxes incurred to be wired to a Hong Kong bank account.
In the first incident, which occurred in March, the victim, a 57-year-old San Francisco woman, wired $6,000 to cover the taxes. Later, she received a second call saying that there were additional charges involved, totaling $12,000. Again, the victim wired the money. There were additional calls for more money with increasing amounts that continued into May. Ultimately, the victim wired a total of $100,000 for winnings that were non-existent.
A second potential victim was contacted on May 14. In this incident, the caller asked for the victim's bank account number and password so the winning money could be deposited into the account. The recipient did not comply with the request but called police, who informed the person that this lottery was a scam.
Police are advising citizens to be immediately suspicious of a telephone call from someone purporting to represent a lottery and announcing that the person has won a cash prize. Anyone so contacted is urged not to comply with a request for money or personal information and to make a police report at a district station. Persons who have questions may call the Fraud Unit at 553-1521.
For more information, please contact:
Public Affairs Office
850 Bryant Street, Room 549, San Francisco, CA. 94103