Dominican Keno Scam
Sent: Friday, 27 September 2002 7:44 AM
Subject: I think I was scammed in the Dominican Republic:
My name is Jeffrey B and I am a US citizen who has
just returned from my honeymoon vacation in the Dominican
Republic. I stayed at the Secrets Excellence resort
in the town of Punta Cana. They had a small casino
in the resort which I was foolish enough to partake
in one night after a decent amount of alcohol had
been ingested throughout the day.
As my wife and myself walked through the door, we
were greeted with free chips to use on their new "Super
Keno" game. I obliged and started to play. The
dealer was the only American at the resort and was
a very smooth talker. I started to play and of course
was getting all of the right numbers and watched my
chances of winning grow and grow.
I got to a point in which I had no more cash to
continue but was told to just use my credit card (dumb)
which I did. In no time I was out about USD
$7,000 and I finally realized that I wasn't going
to win. The next morning I realized that I never saw
any of the numbers that were supposedly picked and
that the casino manager did all of the talking to
my credit card company because I couldn't understand
him due to a bad connection.
Later I found another gentleman from the US who
lost $20,000 and his story was almost identical about
how the balls were pulled and how the game progressed.
I have told my credit card company that I want
to dispute the charges but I have no real guidence
other then people telling
me that it was gambling and that there are risks.
Is this scam common there? Do I have anyone that
I can turn to for help? I have been searching the
web all day looking for answers and your site seems
to be the best.
Another thing to point out is that I had problems
with my reservations when I checked in and while I
was fighting with the hotel, I missed an orientation
meeting where the travel agency told everyone to stay
away from the Keno.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Sorry to hear of your very unpleasant experience.
I have heard of similar scams before and believe this
style of theft is not uncommon. It is too late now
now to caution you to be extra wary when travelling
abroad and to never accept anything free of charge
from even the friendliest of people.
I believe that your credit card company is the best
chance you have of recouping the loss, but it may
depend on how quickly you brought it to their attention.
I'd be surprised if you have no legal case for challenging
the deduction if you can provide evidence that it
was a scam. If you have any way of contacting the
other American who suffered the same fate it may help
build a case.
Alternatively you might be able to seek help via
the US officials in the Dominican Republic. Presumably
they could bring pressure to bear on the resort in
question if they wanted to. I'm rather pessimistic
about getting your money back via that avenue though.
Unfortunately the old rule that 'possession is nine
tenths of the law' tends to apply in these cases,
which is why you need to be so careful to avoid these
scams in the first place.
I'm not without hope that your credit card company
may be able to reverse the transaction after an investigation,
if the amount has not already been transferred to
the resort's account.
Let us know how you fare.
Managing Director OZmium Pty Ltd
Sent: Thursday, 9 October 2003 7:40 AM
Subject: Dominican Keno Scam
I had the identical experience to your scam letter
from Jeffrey B, dated 27-9-2002.
I was actually married on 27-9-2003, and on my honeymoon
was scammed to the tune of $5,000 at the Superclubs
Breezes Hotel in Punta Cana on the night of the 30th.
Any new suggestions since the ones given a year ago?
Thanks, Doug T.
Persistent scamming attempts
Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 4:54 PM
Subject: lottery scams in North America
Just before Xmas last year I got an unsolicited letter
in the mail asking to buy a lottery ticket in the
Super 66 lottery in the UK for $30 run by the European
Lottery Guild. I would enter the game with a group
of 10 other people. The potential jackpot was as high
as Aud $88 million, so if one of us won that's Aud
$8.5 to me. To obtain the ticket required a credit
card purchase, which I proceeded with. All the gaming
sales brochures looked professional within the letter
and there was an extra promotional leaflet claiming
that if I was one of the first 500 tickets to be purchased
for the game I would be in a draw to win a free holiday
to London, UK, which I filled out and sent off as
A few weeks later I got a letter, not a ticket as
such, which put me in a draw with ten other names.
Of course I didn't win anything on the date of this
draw. So far, unremarkable.
A couple of weeks later I started getting phone
calls at home and work from a group of people claiming
to be the Canadian Lotteries Commission and later
the European Lottery Guild asking me to buy tickets
over the phone for games they were claiming good odds
for. I declined to buy, but these people persisted
in ringing me as often as once per week, pressuring
me to buy their tickets.
At about the same time I started getting mail claiming
that I had winnings that I could collect provided
I sent money (e.g. $15) to the company in question.
One of these letters claimed I could collect US $1
million in cheques if I filled out a (false) affidavit,
no money required. Foolishly I signed this letter
and posted it off. A few days later, realising I'd
made a mistake, I tried getting the US postal service
to recall this letter to me, which is possible in
the US, but the mail clerk said that they were getting
hundreds of letters in a day for the address I sent
to and that they couldn't help.
So far I haven't been affected by this letter, but
as a precaution I've changed my credit card and my
signature. I now worry that someone could be using
my name and signature to commit fraud in the US or
other countries, rebounding on me eventually.
The conclusion I have come to is this. That the original
letter (European Lotteries Guild) was a scam and all
other phone calls and lottery scam mail that I'm now
receiving was a result of the original company putting
me on a mailing list so that other dodgy operators
could send me their rubbish. The golden rules are
1. Don't reply to mail that you didn't solicit.
2. Don't send money to lotteries outside Australia,
that you don't know are genuine.
3. Don't sign anything.
Finally in February I got a strange e-mail from a
woman called Madam Sankoh from the Ivory Coast, in
which she claimed she had $12 million in cash and
valuables in a bank vault there and she would like
me as her agent to move this sum of money gradually
into a bank account in Australia, managed by me. I
would get 10% commission.
I was skeptical at first saying that if the money
was obtained through crime, I wouldn't have anything
at all to do with her scheme. She told me that the
money was legally obtained and belonged to her and
that her husband was in jail and that her political
enemies were trying to get it off her. I believed
her and was about to make a commitment to her scheme,
e.g. opening a bank account here, when I was luckily
delayed by work commitments.
A week later I wasn't able to contact her. Fortunately
I then ran a check on the name "Sankoh"
on a web browser, when I ran across your scamorama
mirrorsite which described an Australian bloke who
had fallen for a similar scheme brokered by the Sankoh's
and had lost thousands of dollars for his pains. Thanks
for informing me about this type of scam.
Hmm. About three standard scams all attempted on
the one person! There's the standard, 'you've won
something, but first you have to send money' scam,
the 'give us your credit card details for a purchase
and later sign something so we'll have your signature
as well' scam, and finally a variation of the 'Nigerian
scam'. (See below)
It's quite likely all these attempted scams were
actually the one person or group... scammers do not
have a union and exchange mailing lists! Anyway, you
seem to have come through relatively unscathed, though
future credit card fraud is certainly a possibility.
It would be a good idea to warn your bank of course.
If you know of or have encountered any gambling
or other scams, let us know about them here at Smartgambler.
The South Australian Office Of Consumer And Business
Affairs has a comprehensive list of products it considers
scams or of dubious merit.
A useful article in pdf format about racing system
scams can be found here.
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