The Main Stream

Aug 31, 2011 7:45 AM

Lottery scams hit retirement communities

TUCSON - Have you received a letter in the mail saying you have won thousands of dollars in a lottery that you never actually entered? The U.S. Postal Inspector says it is a scam, and it is something he hears about multiple times a week.

Inspector Dave Birch says they inform you that you have won a large cash prize, but ask you to send money to claim the winnings. Birch says they claim the money is to pay for taxes on the prize, but when the victim cashes the check and sends it back, they never receive the winnings, and they are held responsible for the money cashed on the fraudulent check.

Birch says they have also seen charities used as a front for these scams, including Unicef. He also says they seem to hit retirement communities like Green Valley the hardest.

"This person is used to negotiate these checks, and then the scammers receive the money back and the person is out that total amount. If they've been unfortunate enough to have those checks or money orders cashed, they're on the line for that amount," Birch said.

Birch says some of the scams have also had the U.S. Postal Service logo on money orders, but they are fake. He says if you receive something like this, you should call their office to verify it.

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