FTC: Canadian Lottery Scam Halted

Canadian companies agreed to pay $1 million to settle charges that they targeted elderly U.S. citizens in a telemarketing lottery scam, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.

The companies, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, guaranteed consumers that they would receive monthly payments of $5,000 to $12,000 if they made a one-time investment of $5,000, the FTC said. The payment purportedly was for bonds, including British Premium Savings Bonds, that would qualify consumers for prizes, including monthly cash payments.

Consumers who paid the money received documents in the mail purporting to be savings bonds, the FTC said. The documents were of no value, according to the FTC.

In some cases, the companies placed charges on consumer credit cards without authorization and even charged consumers with whom they had no contact, the FTC said. Among the 14 companies and individuals named by the FTC were NAGG Holdings Ltd., Canada Prepaid Legal Services and BSI Premium Bonds.

The money paid by the companies to settle the charges will be used to provide consumer redress. In addition, the companies are barred from marketing any lottery or bond program to U.S. consumers.

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