When it comes to the lottery, you have to play to win — and that is the only way to win.
A Mountain View woman found out the hard way in late December when she was scammed out of $10,000 by two cons who convinced her she was buying into lottery winnings, police said.
Following another incident in early December in which a San Carlos resident lost $4,000, police are again warning people about the “Latin Lotto Scam.”
The rip-off “is typically run by con artists from Central and South America” armed with sad stories and promises of cash, according to the California Lottery website. The cons usually work in pairs or teams.
The Mountain View incident fit the profile perfectly.
The victim was approached by a woman who asked if she spoke Spanish, police said. The con, police said, told the woman she couldn’t cash in her winning ticket because she was in the country illegally. The second con showed up saying he was willing to help, police said, claiming the ticket was worth $1.5 million and he would pay $40,000 to help buy it.
The victim was persuaded to contribute $10,000 and told that the trio would meet the next day to work out a “contract,” police said. The victim was given the ticket, but never saw the man and woman again.
The female suspect is described by police as 55 to 60 years old, tall with dark, straight shoulder-length hair. Police said the man is 40 to 50 years old, 5-foot-9 with a heavy build and was wearing a white long-sleeve shirt and dark leather jacket.
“‘Opportunities’ like this are never legitimate,” police said.