Waynesboro Police warn of foreign lottery scam

policeThe Waynesboro Police Department wants citizens to be aware that a foreign lottery/sweepstakes scam has been occurring in the city.

In this particular scam, a potential victim receives a letter and check delivered to his or her residence.  The envelope usually has an overseas postmark and is stamped “AIR MAIL.”  The letter indicates that the recipient is the winner of a sweepstakes, lottery, or some other contest that is usually held on several continents.  The prize is a large cash sum normally exceeding $100,000.00.

In the body of the letter,  it is explained that an independent firm has been assigned to deliver the prize to the recipient.  The check is usually several thousand dollars and used for “processing fees” according to the letter.  The letter does not ask for any personal information nor banking details to make it appear that the letter and check are legitimate.  The check also appears quite convincing on its face.   However, the scam takes place when the recipient deposits the check into his or her account.  This allows the foreign entity behind the scam the ability to access the victim’s banking account remotely and deplete it.

A Waynesboro senior citizen received a letter and check within the past week and became suspicious that it could be a scam.  Fortunately, he brought it to the Police Department instead of depositing the check.

There are several red flags that citizens should be aware of that can help them from being duped by this type of scam:

  • Envelopes that have overseas postmarks are rare and should automatically be suspected;
  • The “Sweepstakes Winning” letter will have several grammatical and spelling errors;
  • The letter will also have several addresses (both in the United States and international).  Checking these address on the Internet usually shows that they don’t exist.
  • The phone numbers on the letter connect you with a person who immediately hangs up when you identified yourself as “Officer So & So from the Anytown Police Department”
  • And the biggest clue – The purported prize is for a lottery that the victim does not even remember entering.  There is no such thing as free money.

The Police Department recommends that should anyone receive a letter and check like those mentioned about that they immediately destroy them.

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