The Citizen Alert is intended to advise you of criminal activity that may affect you or your community. If you have questions or suspect information, call the issuing law enforcement agency shown below. Your identity can remain confidential.
The Fairmont Police Department has again seen a significant increase in the number of reported lottery or prize-winning frauds. The frauds have been sent mostly via mail to various citizens. The fraud informs the recipient that they have won a lottery that requires a deposit or payment to secure or receive the funds. The letter often includes an official looking letter, a business or cashiers check, and a number to contact. The letter typically asks that you cash the check and mail the money to a specific address or that you contact the number provided and follow the instructions. These frauds have included, but are not limited to, the Royal British Lotto, Novest International Inc, Australian Power Ball and Brewster's Large Cash Lottery. The actual name of the fraudulent lottery continues to change.
As we have advised before, these frauds are becoming better organized and are producing much more realistic fraudulent checks than ever before. Don't be a victim! Several signs of a fraud are receiving notice that you won cash for something you never entered. Receiving mail postmarked or stamped from Canada but the check is printed to be from a U.S. Bank. Receiving a contact number that is international or Canadian. The inclusion of a disclaimer advising you not to tell anyone about the prize, or that time is of the essence now, are strong signs of a possible fraud. Also being asked to pay processing or clearance fees for a cash prize by cashing an unsolicited check.
The frauds also extend to the Internet and the sometimes the phone. You may see a pop up screen asking you to enter a lottery, or receive a phone call asking for personal information. If you provide personal information (Name, mailing address, etc) you just gave a scam artist the information needed to send you a letter informing you of a fraudulent prize.
The fraudulent methods that are used to commit these crimes continue to evolve and change. Be very suspicious of the letters or offers described above. Contact your bank for verification and explain the circumstances surrounding the check or contact your local law enforcement. If you cash a check that is returned as fraudulent you will be responsible for the payment in the end.