Really, I guarantee it. All you need to do is call my friend Morgan. You will have to answer a skill-testing question (I'll give you a hint, the answer is 42), and he'll see to it that you get your prize. Call him now, before he packs up his wagon and moves on. His number is 1-900-...
Have you ever heard of 1-900 numbers? That means you call and agree to pay for as long as you stay on the phone. Read the fine print. It says you'll have to pay 5 bucks for each minute that Morgan keeps you talking, and Morgan can talk for 8 minutes to people he doesn't even know. If you're friendly, you can spend all night listening to his stories.
Now look at his prizes. Sure he has a couple of cars, and some really neat stuff, but he claims to have over 2 million prizes, and only about a dozen are anything more than those "Look I'm a winner" ribbons of his. In fact if you read the fine print, you will see that the odds on you winning a ribbon are so overwhelming that he lists them as one-to-one, a sure thing!
The bottom line: He wants you to give him at least 40 bucks so that he can tell you that you have won a ribbon worth little more than a buck (what's special about $1.37, anyway?). For better odds, take that 40 bucks to your favourite charity and give them 30. You get to walk away with 5 times more than Morgan's going to give you, plus you get to feel good about it.
One of your close friends has taken sick in a foreign country!
You have won a wonderful prize!
One of your family members has been arrested!
You must call at once. My number is 1-809-...
Look carefully at the number. That's an 809, not an 800. It's not a toll-free call. It's a long-distance call to the Caribbean, and will cost you a bundle if you call it.
If you do call, the phone may be answered by someone with very poor English, who doesn't seem to understand what you want and keeps you on the line trying to explain. Don't believe it! The person doesn't care what you want, they only want to charge you as much as possible for the call.
The bottom line: Don't return any calls to an 809 number unless you know the number!
And an update on this scam: They're using new area codes. So watch out for 011- seven-digit numbers; they look local, but you might be calling halfway around the world. The bottom line remains: Don't return calls if you don't recognize the number!