Crime

Powerball Scam Has Missouri Connection

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Getty/William Thomas Cain

Getty/William Thomas Cain

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)- A new email scam uses legitimate news of a Kansas City man’s lottery windfall to convince people around the country that for a few hundred dollars they can have a big chunk of that pie.

The email includes a link to the Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/1ldXIsr ), which reported in December that a local mechanic had won a $71.5 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas.

While that part of the email’s claims is true, the prize winner does not live in Kansas, he wasn’t recently married and he most certainly is not giving $750,000 apiece to a bunch of strangers.

Falling for the ruse could be even more costly than the minimum of $390 that the scammer requests for opening a phony off-shore bank account. There’s the potential for identity theft from information provided to establish the “account.”

“That’s a new twist on an old scam,” said Bridget Patton, the FBI’s spokeswoman in Kansas City.

The email writer says family members coaxed him to help people who are less fortunate, “like a pay-it-forward type of thing.”

“My 14 years old cousin told me How come you are planning on getting a 290,000.00 USD car when there are family out there that still depend on pay check to survive,” the email reads.

The poor grammar is one clue that it’s a scam, authorities say.

Also, the email address given for the British bank where the money can supposedly be accessed is not even close to that bank’s actual address, and records show that the domain name was created last fall by someone named Grace in Benin City, Nigeria.

The Star received several emails and phone calls from people in places like Delaware, Texas and California asking whether the Kansas City lottery winner really does want to give them money.

Some who contacted the newspaper, like Roxann Kimbrough of Humble, Texas, knew the offer was a scam.

Information in the email didn’t match up to what was in the linked news story, she said, including that the man in the email said he is from Kansas, when the real lottery winner lived in Missouri at the time he won.

The email writer also refers to his “newly wedded wife Emily,” while the newspaper story tells of how the man was planning a trip with his wife of 30 years and didn’t mention her name, which is not Emily.

Others who contacted The Star weren’t so skeptical.

“(I’m) supposed to b awarded finances. In prayer let me know if you hear any thing okay,” wrote Inga W. from Los Angeles.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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