Akron, OH – December 13, 2011 – The Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Wayne Counties is warning that a new scam is fraudulently using the organization’s name in order to steal thousands of dollars from victims who are led to believe they have won a sweepstakes or lottery.
Consumers across the country have received letters from ‘National Lottery Promotion’, with a return address of 1105 Interstate Drive, Suite 312, Richfield, OH 44286, claiming that they were winners of a $200,000 prize in a sweepstakes. Included with the letter was a check for between $4,000 and $5,000 that had to be cashed in order to pay for the insurance and administrative fees. The letter also stated that the enclosed check was provided by one of the sponsors, which included the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau was unsuccessful in locating the company, and mail has been returned as ‘undeliverable’.“Many people are struggling in the current economy and when someone tells you that you’ve won thousands or millions in a lottery, it can seem like an answer to prayer,” said Christy Page, CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Medina Counties. “Every year, tens of thousands of people contact BBB about a suspicious lottery and instead of cashing in, many lose thousands of dollars they don’t have.”
The Better Business Bureau reminds consumers that the organization does not run a lottery nor would the BBB Branding be used on lottery award notifications. Anyone who receives a call, letter or e-mailed about winning the lottery or a sweepstakes should consult the following checklist in order to avoid falling victim to a lottery scam:
Make sure the story checks out. Always confirm the facts directly with the organization the representative claims to be from – whether it’s Better Business Bureau or any other organization. Use contact information that you found on your own from the organization’s Web site; don’t rely on phone numbers or Web links provided by the representative. Scammers often pretend to be from a legitimate business or non-profits and a quick call directly to the organization can help set the record straight.
Never pay money to
get money. Lottery scammers make their money by convincing victims that
they have to pay money up front – to cover such costs as taxes or fees – in
order to receive their winnings. Because
it is extremely difficult for the victim to track or retrieve money sent via
wire transfer, scammers will often use this as their payment method of choice.
Don’t fall for the phony check. Scammers will often send a check in the mail to the victim with the instructions that, in order to receive the full price, he or she must deposit that check and wire back a portion of the funds to cover fees or taxes. This gives the victim a false sense of security because the check will clear initially, but eventually be discovered a fake. The money is then taken out of the victim’s account and he or she is out the funds sent to the scammer.For resources on how to avoid lottery scams and check fraud visit the BBBs’ Scam Source at: www.akron.bbb.org/scam-source/