Wednesday, Feb 20, 2008
Foreign Lottery Scam
By Tom Kenny
Action News 36 has heard from people who received a letter and check in the mail, telling them they've won a lot of money in a foreign lottery. Don't Fall For It.
The letter is an announcement of a "Computer Reward Program
" for all bank card holders in North America.
It says you have been randomly selected by a computer to win $175,000 in the C.R.P Grand Bonanza held in Edmonton, Canada.
It tries to visually add credibility to the letter by using the Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus card logos at the bottom.
A check for $3,658.60 is enclosed to help you pay your "clearance fee." You're supposed to deposit the check and then wire the money out of the country. Once you do that, you'll receive your winnings. Don't Fall For It.
The check looks authentic. It is not. If you cash it and wire the money, you'll be stuck paying back your bank nearly $3,700.00. You'll never receive any prize or lottery money.
You're even told to contact your claim agent, Tracy Peterson of Emerald Financial in Ontario, so you can authorize and activate your check.
We called the number. We got an automated message saying all the agents were busy, but that we could leave a name and number and someone would call us back. We left the call back information, but never heard from anyone.
We also checked on the companies named in the letter with the Better Business Bureau that serves Mid-Western and Central Ontario. Complaints had been filed with the BBB regarding refund and exchange issues, but the Bureau couldn't find the company.
There are so many red flags in this offer it's almost laughable. This has scam written all over it.
Here are some of the warning signs that this is scheme. It's a foreign sweepstakes, which are illegal to play in the United States.
It is also illegal to charge you any money in order to receive winnings in a lottery, contest or sweepstakes. (Remember the check for the "clearance fee you had to pay?")
You're asked to keep everything confidential. That's not for your security, but rather to make sure you don't tell anyone who might recognize that it's a scam.
The negative report from the BBB in Ontario is the final nail in the scam's coffin. Not to mention the offer is too good to be true.
Know the warning signs. Recognize the warning signs, so you Don't Fall For It.
Always check out any offer with the BBB of Central and Eastern Kentucky by calling toll-free at 1-800-866-6668 or online at www.ky.bbb.org