Phony Lottery Scams Hit Hundreds of Thousands in U.S.

May 16, 2006 8:43am

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are being targeted by phony lottery scams that include bogus cashier’s checks so well done many banks initially cash them.

"Americans are getting conned out of a million dollars a day with this scam," according to Tom Boyle, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

The scam includes "letters of congratulations" and a cashier’s check for several thousand dollars.

The "winners" are told to cash the checks and send most of the money back for "processing and tax fees."  In effect, the recipient is passing a bad check for the con artists.

Once the banks realize the checks are bogus, they seek restitution from the victims.   

"If you have to pay to collect your winnings, there is not a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow," says Boyle.

Boyle says most of the material is coming from Nigeria.  U.S. officials seized more than 700,000 such letters at Kennedy airport in New York over the last year.

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