Andy's Got Your Back on lottery and prize scams - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Got Your Back on lottery and prize scams

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC TV) - U.S. postal inspectors asked us to spotlight foreign lottery and prize scams in recognition of National Consumer Protection Week.

Inspectors said for decades, thousands of consumers -- primarily the elderly -- have lost millions of dollars to foreign lottery scams.

Plain and simple, there are no foreign lotteries. At least there are no foreign lotteries in which you can win without entering or buying a ticket.

The way foreign lottery scams work is the victims receive unsolicited messages in the mail containing fake checks or money orders. The letters included with the checks announce they have hit the jackpot.

Here's the catch:  to collect their "winnings," the victims must deposit the counterfeit checks, then transfer a portion back as a "fee" or "tax." By the time the victims have forwarded legitimate funds out of their accounts, the checks have bounced.

The victims are then criminally liable for passing bad checks.

Inspectors said prize scams also come by phone. Telemarketers "guarantee" you have one valuable prizes like vacations, cash or cars.

But again, the dead giveaway is they ask for a bogus up-front fee in order to collect your prize.  That is a scam, each and every time.

If you ever get what looks like lottery material from a foreign country, turn it over to your local postmaster. Use your common sense. There is no way to win a lottery you have never entered. 

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