Overseas Subscribers Agents (OSA) announced today the launch of its new 24-hour Online Help Desk operation, as part of its continuing battle against an upsurge of lottery scams abusing the OSA name.

“There are thousands of lottery scams currently circulating the world, and every year the scam artists just get more and more outrageous,” says David Krause, Administration Director for OSA.

Krause is hopeful that the extended customer service hours will go a long way towards strengthening OSA’s scam-busting efforts. “We have a regularly updated Scamwatch section on our sites, and answer all scam inquiries by email. But with our new 24-hour operation – which includes live chat and telephone support – we can more immediately and efficiently respond to the queries we receive from all over the world, and help potential victims identify if an email they received is really from Overseas Subscribers Agents, or if it is just another new scam.”

OSA’s Scamwatch blog lists some identifying characteristics shared by most recent lottery scams:

·The email addresses provided are free hotmail or yahoo accounts, as these are easy to set up and difficult to trace.
· They claim you were “selected through a computer ballot system,” where “your name and email address were attached to a winning Lottery ticket.”

· They usually mention a “claim agent,” “processing fees,” “insurance” or “bank fees”

· You’re requested to “keep your winnings confidential until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your account”

· You’re warned that “any breach of confidentiality on your part will result in disqualification.”

· You’re told that “the funds will be sent to you by a courier or security service” and that you have to pay the courier service for delivery and/or storage.

Krause warns that the details of the scams change constantly, but the basic message is usually the same --- that you have won a sum of money in a lottery you have never entered and must now send money in order to claim it.

“From this alone” Krause says, “you can be sure that the email cannot be from Overseas Subscribers Agents – or any other legitimate source. The service we provide to our subscribers includes entry into government lottery of their choice, monitoring and informing players of draw results, and collecting and remitting our players’ winnings to them in FULL. When you win, OSA sends your prize money as a completely free service – there are no additional costs after the initial entry fee.”

Krause admits that “for every new scam discovered and reported, maybe three or four more will probably pop up to take its place. But we must do all do whatever we can to stop them anyway.”

The best defense, according to Krause, is information…and common sense. “People fall for scams because they want to believe they won the money --- even if it makes no sense at all.” says Krause. “To be safe, it’s always best to bear in mind that --- if an offer you receive sounds too good to be true – it probably is.”

To contact the Overseas Subscribers Agents Help Desk, visit www.osalotteries.com/helpdesk or http://osalotteries.net. OSA’s Scamwatch blog may be found at http://blog.osalotteries.com.