Wednesday, November 02, 2005

International Lottory Scam

I received a letter in the mail yesterday from Canada. When I opened it, I found a check for nearly $4,000 in it and a letter saying I won an international lottery (which I did not enter). The total prize is $75,000 but there are 4 other winners I have to split the winnings with. Anyway, the check is to cover the taxes I owe the federal government. To get the rest of my money, I have to call a toll-free number and hand over my bank account number.

I knew this was a scam from the first sentence. But the check looks absolutely authentic. Just to confirm my suspicions, I did a search on the internet. I found talk of similar scams. One helpful site had this to say:

If you want to be sure you're not the next victim of a foreign lottery scam, here are five tips:

1. First of all, playing any kind of cross-border lottery system is a violation of Federal law, and law enforcement officials ARE paying attention. IOW, it's illegal. Don't do it!

2. You can't win a prize in a lottery if you didn't buy a lottery ticket.

3. Real lotteries don't ask you to pay a fee. If you have to write a check to win a lottery prize, it's a scam. IOW, never, ever send any money for 'processing fees,' or share any other financial information, in order to claim a prize.

4. Never fill out any prize forms or 'claims' either through snail mail or online -- you may end up on scammers' 'sucker' lists as a result, which means you'll just get more solicitations.

5. Don't believe -- or pay for -- any 'secret systems' that will help you win lotteries. If someone really had a foolproof secret system to win lotteries, why would they sell it to you?

So, don't be fooled if you get the same thing in the mail. You can read more here.

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