June 27, 2007
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon is telling residents of Missouri’s Bootheel to watch out for a scam involving checks being sent in the mail from supposed foreign lotteries. Nixon says the checks are fake, but could fool victims into sending the con artists money.
The Attorney General’s Office was contacted this week by a Dunklin County resident who reported receiving a check for $2,950. A letter with the check informed the woman that she had won $48,000 in a lottery being operated out of the U.S. Virgin Islands, but that she would need to deposit the check and send $2,840 in a money order as a fee to lottery officials to cover “fees.” The letter was postmarked from Canada, but the woman was told to send the money order to a Los Angeles address.
Nixon said both the lottery and the check were fake, but the scam could cost Missourians real money.
“Never send money to someone who tells you that you’ve won a prize, even if they send you what looks to be a real check,” Nixon said. “We’ve had consumers find out the hard way after they initially cash the fake check that it won’t clear, and that they are now out that money. Thankfully, this consumer was skeptical and contacted our office without trying to cash the check. Because these scams can move their way systematically through zip codes, I want to warn other people who live in the Bootheel about this scam.”
Missourians can contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 with questions or complaints, or they can file a complaint online through the Attorney General’s Web site at ago.mo.gov.