If you won $700,000 in the lottery, how would you spend that money? Buy a new house? Get a giant, flat-screen tv? Buy a boat? Hire a good attorney? You might need one if you try to claim winnings in a lottery that you never entered.
A Florissant resident recently received a letter in the mail that said she'd won $250,000 in the USA Mega Draw lottery. Then she received a letter saying she'd won $450,000 in the USA Mega Draw lottery. Winning once is rare, but twice is suspicious. It's especially fishy because this person didn't enter the lottery, which appears to be out of Canada.
This is a scam that's been around awhile and still suckers in victims all the time. Click here to see checks from the USA Mega Draw and the letters that came with them. A closer look shows you lots of clues that this is a scam. The letter says it's from Mutual Trust Financial Services in Canada, but the checks are from the account of Atlantic Gutter Supply, Inc in Poughkeepie, New York. And the checks are for far less than the full jackpot. They tell the "winner" that they need to deposit the checks and then wire the money back to the company to claim the full prize.
These are techniques that crooks learn in their Scamming 101 class. First of all it's illegal for anyone living in the United States to play an international lottery. Second of all, you should never have to pay in order to get your winnings. The reality is, these crooks steal checks or checking account numbers of legitimate businesses (Atlantic Gutter Supply). And they hope that your excitement about winning big bucks will blind you to the name on the check and cause you to ignore the fact that the lottery would be asking for you to send them money. If you cash one of their bogus checks, you'll probably be visited by police after they get a call from the bank, saying that you cashed a fraudulent check. Asking you to use a wire service to send the money to them is also a dead giveaway.
This classic scam has been publicized numerous times, but still snags a victims and makes money for the scammers. It's always a huge red flag if you've been notified of winning a contest you never entered. And the old phrase still holds true today, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.