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Senator blasts Jamaica for lottery scam

March 14, 2013 at 8:44 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, condemned Jamaica for not putting enough effort in fighting the rampant lottery scam that targets U.S. senior citizens.

"I think they are finally taking it seriously, but it has taken a number of years for them to do so and I would like to see them put the effort in this, in stopping this scam, as it puts into enticing Americans to come vacation in Jamaica. A lot of money is spent on that," Collins, a ranking member of the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, said Wednesday.

The committee heard testimony from relatives of victims of the lottery scam, as well as from law enforcement officials, The Gleaner said.

Collins said Jamaicans make 30,000 phone calls daily and target senior citizens, telling them they've won a sweepstakes, but must pay a small fee before receiving the prize.

The scammers then "drain them of every dime," Collins said.

Collins' comments came after "CBS This Morning" aired a report on the issue.

Sandrea Falconer, the minister of responsibility for information in Jamaica, said they are trying to shut down the scams using legislative and investigative tools.

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