By JB Clark
SALTILLO – A Saltillo woman received a $4,550 check from Standard Financial Services last week but Police Chief Grant Bailey said she suspected something was wrong.
“The check comes with a letter showing a $3,450 processing fee,” he said. “They tell you to cash the check and then pay the processing fee but once you pay the processing fee you’ll realize the check isn’t any good.”
This is the latest scam trying to convince people to fork their money over for false promises of riches.
The letter claims the receiver is the second prize winner in the “USA Mega (under the International Sweepstake) draw,” which was allegedly held in September. The letter goes on to claim the winning serial number was attached to the name of the person receiving the letter.
The letter also gives a phone number to call but numbers attempts to reach a “claim agent” were fruitless.
Bailey said the thing that makes this scam tricky is the actual check sent along with the letter. While the check appears legitimate, Bailey said it is not attached to a legitimate bank and will generate a bad check fee instead of $4,550.
The letter says, if the “winner” pays the processing fee, an additional check with the rest of the winnings, $270,540, will be mailed promptly.
“You can contact your local law enforcement office and the attorney general’s office but the main thing to do is ignore this and don’t cash the check or pay the fee,” Bailey said. “No one is going to send you $270,000.”
A release from Attorney General Jim Hood said the “lottery scam” can come in the form of mail, phone or email and that a mailed check will often include a legitimate business name and routing number to initially fool the banking system. He said it’s important to remember you cannot win a legitimate lottery without entering and will never have to pay before collecting winnings.
Anyone who has received a similar letter or fallen victim to a scam artist can call the Mississippi Attorney General’s scam hotline at (800) 281-4418.