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Local residents lose over $70k in ‘Samsung Lottery’ scam

Saturday 8 April 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Crime, National


Local residents  lose over $70k  in ‘Samsung  Lottery’ scam

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the Cook Islands Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is calling on the public not to engage with any fake lottery scammers.

The warning comes after three local residents lost more than $70,000 through a scam known as the “Samsung Lottery”.

The scammers have been using the Prime Minister’s name to support their crime.

In a statement, the Office of the Prime Minister says the current scam that is circulating in the community has already defrauded three people of more than $70,000, adding “there could be more”. One of the three people affected has lost more than $40 000.

The scam tells people via Facebook, that they have won a prize in the “lottery”, but in order to receive their winnings, they need to pay a fee.

After paying that and being hooked into the scam, they are further advised that their money has arrived at the airport, but a further fee is required to release it to them.

Cook Islands Financial Intelligence Unit was alerted when one of the victims rang Prime Minister Mark Brown enquiring about their alleged winnings.

People caught up in the scam are advised to contact the FIU, in confidence, on 29182.

Last year, the PM’s office was alerted of another scam known as the Cook Islands Sustainable Bond that may have been targeting New Zealanders.

The scam featured a false booklet reputedly authored by Rabobank and the Cook Islands government. This was uncovered by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister’s Office had said the FIU was first alerted to the scam in early October and it was discovered before any funds could be misplaced.