On April 5, 2011 at 4:25 p.m., a resident reported a possible fraud.
The victim stated that she had been the victim of a fraud scam. On Monday, February 28, 2011, she received a phone call from a male claiming to be of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He claimed she had won $350,000.00 prize money in a contest held by Mutual Liberty Incorporated, of Boston, Massachusetts. The male claimed that he had been contacted by Mutual Liberty Incorporated. He told the victim in order to claim the prize, she would need to wire – via Western Union – $4,500.00, to insure the money. He then gave the victim the phone number of his alleged manager and stated the manager would instruct her on where to wire the money. The victim called the manager and was instructed to wire the money via Western Union to a woman in Costa Rica. The manager claimed the reason the money was in Costa Rica was so the company hosting the contest could avoid paying taxes.
On March 24, 2011 at 3:05 p.m., the victim wired, $4,500.00, and paid a $270.00 Western Union service fee; the victim was told the prize money was being stored in a secure location in Newark Liberty International Airport. She was contacted by a male who identified himself as customs officer. He told her she would need to pay a $3,000.00 NJ State registration fee. The victim paid the fee of $3,000.00, and a $180.00 service fee via Western Union to another woman in Costa Rica.
The victim was told she could track her prize monies shipment via the web site, www.fedairmail.com and was given a tracking number.
The victim stated she realized she was involved in a fraud when she called a number given to her by another supposed FTC representative and reached a male she recognized as a previous male from the customs office. The victim stated that when she questioned him as to the mix up, he stated the phone lines must have been crossed between the federal agencies offices.
On April 4, 2011 at 4:55 p.m., the victim stated she received a message on her answering machine from another FTC representative who now claimed that the 1st prize contest winner was found to be an illegal alien, and therefore ineligible to receive the prize, making her eligible for the first prize.
The victim stated she did not return the phone call.
****Residents are warned against sending money to anyone they do not know via Western Union or any other cash transfer agency. Lottery scams such as these are notorious for repeated phone calls and complicated procedures ending with the victim sending money to another person, usually outside the United States. For further information on how to avoid becoming a victim follow this link to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) website: