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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Lottery Win Scams
December 08, 2010

Lottery Win Scams

Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

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Lottery Win Scams

We continue to receive reports of letters and emails being distributed about prize sweepstakes or lottery schemes. These schemes use counterfeit checks that bear legitimate-looking logos of various financial institutions to fool you into sending money to the fraudsters.

Fraudsters tell you that you have won a sweepstake or lottery, but to receive a lump sum payout, you must pay the taxes and processing fees upfront.

Fraudsters direct you to call a telephone number to initiate a letter of instruction. The letter alleges that you can elect to take an advance on the winnings to make the required upfront payment. The letter includes a check in the amount of the alleged taxes and fees, along with processing instructions.

Ultimately, you are designed to believe you are using the advance to make the required upfront payment, but in reality you are falling prey to the scheme.

You then deposit the check into your own bank, which credits the account for the amount of the check before the check clears. You then immediately withdraw the money and wire it to the fraudsters.

Afterwards, the check proves to be counterfeit and the bank pulls the respective funds from your account, leaving you liable for the amount of the counterfeit check plus any additional fees the bank may charge.

People may fall victim to this scheme due to the attraction of easy money and the apparent legitimacy of the check the fraudsters include in the letter of instruction. The alleged cash prizes and locations of the financial institutions vary.

Tips to avoid being scammed:

A federal statute prohibits mailing lottery tickets, advertisements, or payments to purchase tickets in a foreign lottery

Be wary if you do not remember entering a lottery or sweepstakes

Beware of lotteries or sweepstakes that charge a fee prior to delivering your prize

Be wary of demands to send additional money as a requirement to be eligible for future winnings

If you have been a victim of this type of scam or any other Cyber crime, you can report it to the IC3 website at: The IC3 complaint database links complaints for potential referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. Complaint information is also used to identity emerging trends and patterns.

Remember - always watch for scams!


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