Tangeni could not contain his excitement! He did not know whether to share his excitement with his colleagues at work or whether he should only go and tell his family and friends at home. Or should he just keep the information to himself?
A number of ideas raced through Tangeni’s head. Was he dreaming? Was this all true? He opened his laptop again and read the e-mail message for the umpteenth time. He still could not believe his eyes. This was his lucky break! All the dreams he had about travelling the world, buying a big house and a fleet of top-of-the-range cars would finally materialise.
Or so he thought. The e-mail seemed authentic and he had no reason to doubt it. Except, there was one question lingering in his mind: Why was he the chosen one? And when he read the e-mail again, he found the answer. It said: “Your e-mail address, attached to ticket number: 564 75600545188 with Serial number 5368/02, drew the lucky numbers:
19-6-26-17-35-7, which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category.”
With that line of the e-mail, Tangeni had no reason to doubt the authenticity or legitimacy of the e-mail he had just received. Because of the nature of his work, Tangeni frequently uses e-mail communication, including corresponding with people from overseas. That is perhaps how his e-mail address landed in the lottery.
Another sentence in the e-mail caught his eye: “Our agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact him. For security reasons, you are advised
to keep your winning information confidential until your claim is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize,” Tangeni was informed in the e-mail. He got more excited, but the prospect of not having to share with anyone else was a mammoth task for a man who has just struck gold. In fact, he became US$2.5 million richer, according to the lottery notification.
Attached to the e-mail were several documents that bore the official government stamps and seal and signed off by high-ranking officials.
Tangeni was also asked to get into contact with the lottery agent with whom he had to share his personal details to avoid any further delays of his winnings being sent to him.
After obliging, he packed up, left the office and went home. His family could notice the excitement but Tangeni was not saying anything. The next morning, he went back to work, switched on his computer and accessed his e-mails. Lo and behold, the lottery agent had responded to his e-mail in which he furnished a few personal details. He was again congratulated for becoming a millionaire and the excitement kept mounting. And then it hit him: The lottery agent informed him that in order for the money to be released speedily he had to pay an amount of US$5,000. That was a big hurdle for Tangeni to jump. Where would he get so much money in such a short space of time? Without thinking twice, he started making his sums and targeted his colleagues and family members to lend him lump sums. He promised to pay back with interest. After collecting
the equivalent of US$5,000 he went to the bank to have it sent to the given account of the lottery agent.
After a day went by, Tangeni heard nothing from the lottery agent. He told himself not to panic and started calling the numbers appearing in the e-mail and on the documents. No response. The numbers were not even in existence anymore. No subsequent e-mail of his was returned. Then he decided to call the bank. He was told that the account number in which he paid the US$5,000 was closed a few days ago.
Big problems! What will he tell his friends and family and how will he repay their money, all US5,000 of it? It dawned on him that he was scammed and he decided to take leave for a week to avoid being ‘harassed’ by colleagues and friends for their money. Tangeni could not believe that he fell prey to con artists.
HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED LIKE
• Contact your authorities, including NAMFISA, Bank of Namibia, the police and commercial banks to find out more. Letters, and especially e-mails telling you that you’ve won a lottery, are almost always scams.
• Seek independent advice from a trained professional such as an accountant or solicitor if you are seriously considering sending money to claim a prize.
• Don’t provide your credit card or bank account details to anybody you are not completely sure about.
• If you receive an e-mail, letter or text message telling you that you’ve won a lottery or a sweepstakes prize—do not respond. Do not write back and do not send any money or personal details to the scammers.
• Providing personal details such as bank account details will make you vulnerable to having your identity stolen. You may have your bank account cleaned out or a loan taken out in your name.
• If the lottery is anything other than a registered lottery, say “No!” And always be wary of competitions that ask you to send money or personal details.