05/31/07 — Scam warning issued

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Scam warning issued

By Lee Williams
Published in News on May 31, 2007 1:45 PM

The address on the envelope is correct.

The stationary used to tell you that you've just won millions in Australia, Spain or some other foreign country looks authentic.

But before you divulge personal information to strangers or run out and purchase a money order -- a key requirement to partake in the alleged winnings -- there's something law enforcement officials want you to know.

These mailers aren't the answer to a prayer. It's merely part of an elaborate scam designed to bilk you out of your money, Wayne County sheriff's officials say.

Dozens of mailers or lottery scam advertisements have been showing up in mailboxes all across the state and the U.S.

One particular advertisement was sent to a local resident who lives on Mimosa Park Drive but asked not to be identified.

The mailer never asked her to send money at first. It just simply informed her that she won $13.8 million dollars in the lottery held in Madrid, Spain. It asked her to fill out a payment processing form which asked for her such personal information as her name, date of birth, address, bank name, bank account number and bank routing number.

The Wayne County resident said something told her that the mailer was a fake and dismissed the item. The resident knows she is lucky, but she knows that others could be fooled by the mailer since it never asks for money up front.

Wayne County Sheriff's Sgt. R. Thomas Flores, who handles financial crimes, urged residents to never send such information to a stranger. The result could be detrimental to your family and your wallet.

"You don't want to give anybody this information," he said. "Look at all the information they ask you and you've got to ask yourself, why do they need all of this information. Because I guarantee if I wanted to purchase a lottery ticket, I would walk in and pay for it and walk out.

"And if I won, I wouldn't have to give all of that information up front," Flores said. "It's just a lie."

Flores said these type of scams are called advance fee scams.

He pointed out that it is against the law for U.S. citizens to participate in any foreign lottery.