Be wary of lotto scammer renters, warn police

Published: Thursday | November 22, 2012 Comments 0

A senior police officer is urging property owners to be extremely careful when renting their premises as law enforcement authorities crack down on people involved in lottery scamming activities.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Derrick Cochrane, who is also head of the Area 3 Police Division, said that lotto scammers were on the run from their regular bases and seeking to hide in unsuspecting locations.

"What we find manifesting is the migrating nature of criminals. ... As we put pressure on the criminals in one part of the island, they migrate to other parts and we have seen manifestation of this pattern in parts of Manchester and St Elizabeth, where criminals are trying to escape the long arm of the law," he said.

"I want to make an appeal to residents, who are involved in the rental of premises, to do their due diligence. Make sure that they know the persons who they are renting their premises to, because for the lotto scammers the ability to pay is no problem. Prospective landlords should not be blinded by the money that these persons can pay," Cochrane added.

He advised that homeowners, who doubt the character of the people they intend to rent to, contact the police to conduct background checks.

do due diligence

"If they rent them (scammers) their premises, and allow them to settle in peace and quiet away from the long arm of the law, you are by default allowing these dastardly deeds of these lotto scammers, who are swindling persons of tremendous sums, and causing pain and suffering. Homeowners, be careful, be very wary of who you are renting your places to. Please do your due diligence," ACP Cochrane said.

Earlier this month, FairPoint Communications - an American telecommunications company - said it was stepping up efforts to get the authorities in the United States to clamp down on the Jamaica lottery scam.

President of FairPoint, Michael K. Smith, wants the elimination of the phone-scamming operation which is suspected of ripping off thousands of dollars from hundreds of residents in the state of Vermont where the company is located.

FairPoint, the largest landline telephone company in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, says elderly residents across the region have been cheated out of more than US$1 million by con artists telling them they've won a lottery or a car but need to make payments to cash in.

- CMC

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