BBB has another foreign lottery scam to alert you about. Consumers told BBB they received a letter in the mail claiming that they have won a lottery either from the Euro-Alliance Lottery International Association or the North American Sweepstakes Association. Enclosed with the letter is a legitimate looking check issued by a company called Columbia Properties Oklahoma City LLC. Recipients of the mailing are instructed to deposit the checks and wire a portion of the money they receive for the check to another person in order to claim the money they won.
When BBB was told by consumers that they were getting checks from Columbia Properties Oklahoma City in the mail, we immediately became suspicious. Columbia Properties Oklahoma City LLC is actually owned by a larger company, Columbia Sussex, located here in Crestview Hills, KY. The company manages several Marriot, Hilton and Doubletree Hotels across the country.
BBB found it highly unlikely that a local company, like Columbia Sussex, would be issuing checks on behalf of a foreign lottery. So BBB contacted Columbia Sussex and did some digging. We found out that the letters are a scam. According to Columbia Sussex, the checks consumers received were counterfeit.
It seems that scammers have sent out hundreds, if not thousands of these bogus checks to US residents. Scammers lure victims into cashing the checks by telling them that they have won the lottery. BBB warns consumers not to cash the checks or wire any money against the value of the checks since the checks will eventually bounce.
If you have received the same solicitation, Columbia Sussex asks that you please send a copy to the company at the address below:
Attn: Mr. Thomas Day, Controller
Columbia Sussex Corp.
740 Centre View Blvd
Ft Mitchell KY 41017
If you have become the unfortunate victim of this scam, you should file a complaint with BBB. Victims are also strongly urged to contact their state’s Attorney General’s Office, their local police and the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 to file a complaint. If the scam instructed you to wire funds to Canada, you can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, otherwise known as PhoneBusters by calling 1-888-495-8501.