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Don’t get caught in lottery and sweepstakes scams

Posted in Crime Prevention December 1st, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

Has this happened to you? You get a phone call or an email saying that you have won a million dollars in a lottery or sweepstakes in some foreign country. All you need to do is to contact them in order to collect your winnings.

Who wouldn’t think this was legitimate? However, if you have been reading our blogs you know that this is nothing more than pure scams to steal your money. As a result, Minnesota has started its NO MORE MINNESOTA NICE: STATE ANTI-FRAUD EDUCATION CAMPAIGN.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) has partnered with the statewide lottery and sweepstakes fraud enforcement unit to provide an educational outreach program to make sure that you don’t fall victim to these scams.

In Minnesota, fraudulent lottery and sweepstakes scams account for at least $30 million in losses each year. Since September 2007, these types of scams have affected more than 30,000 people. Criminals use e-mail, phone calls and mailings to gain potential victims’ trust and steal their money. Such scams notify victims they have won money in a contest but that they must submit payment to receive winnings. Many of these scams target the elderly.

Here are some of the ways these criminals work to take your hard earn money away from you.
*Someone wants to send you a check for something and asks you to send part of it back to them.
*You receive a check via overnight delivery service.
*You have been informed that you were the winner of a foreign lottery — a lottery that you did not enter.
*You have been instructed to either “wire,” “send” or “ship” money as soon as possible to a large U.S. city or to another country.
*You have been asked to pay money to receive a deposit from another country such as Canada, England or Nigeria.
*You are receiving pay or commission for facilitating money transfers through your bank account.
*You receive an e-mail requesting that you confirm, update or provide your bank account information.

If you get any of these types of notices, you may be a potential fraud victim. Immediately, report this scam to AGED by calling toll-free 866-347-0911, submit information on www.MnScams.org and forward e-mails you receive to report@mnscams.org.

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