Illegal Lottery Scam in Arizona

I JUST WON $1,000,000!

OR DID I?

I just received a letter and announcement advising I am the winner of a $1,000,000 lottery! Oops! I just re-read it. It actually says “I just qualified to be a winner of $1,000,000.” I have to mail back the number on my letter or announcement to verify I have won. Is this a legitimate lottery or is it a scam?

A man called me a day or so later identifying himself as an agent of the Internal Revenue Service advising I have won and I have to pay taxes on my lottery winnings before the prize can be sent to me. The taxes are $xxxx. I must send, by priority mail, a money order (not a personal check) to the p. o. box address he gives me. Upon receipt of the money order, my winnings will be sent by overnight mail. Do I have to pay the taxes before I receive my prize or is this a scam?

A day or so later, I get a call from the Attorney General’s office advising me the mailer and the telephone call are part of a scam to take my money, have I sent the money for the “taxes”? They will need the name of my bank, account number and last few digits of my Social Security number so they can verify there have been no irregular transactions in my account or attempts to access my account. Is this a legitimate inquiry or a scam?

I actually receive a check for $xxxxx but I have to send $xxx to pay the taxes on the winnings immediately. I send the money for the taxes, deposit the check for my winnings in my account. A few days later I am informed by my bank the check is not a valid check. Have I been scammed?

The above are just a very small sample of the types of lottery and prize scams being perpetrated on persons each and every day. Our older citizens, many living on fixed incomes, are exploited by these scams. The requests for money usually start small ($5 – $20) and then grow in amount with each contact. Many lose thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars before realizing there is no prize! Don’t let these ruthless persons take advantage of you.

Check with your state Attorney General’s office to see whether you have been contacted by a “scammer”. In Arizona, you can go to the Attorney General=s webpage, https://www.azag.gov/search/node/scams, to get information on various types of scams.

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