The Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana is warning of reports it is receiving in the midst of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic about scam calls to senior citizens claiming that they have won the lottery.
According to a release from the BBB, it is receiving inquiries and calls on scams to senior citizens in the area who tell them that they will be receiving a check in the mail for $7850, and a letter that indicates that they are the winner of an international lottery.
The BBB is warning consumers not to fall for this scam even though they may be in need of money.
They are also advising the public to know that if someone receives a check saying that they have won the lottery, know that this is a scam and that the check is bogus.
According to the BBB, what the scammers want you to do is call them, and they will give you instructions on how to deposit the check and to either wire them money to buy a cash card then give them the numbers.
The BBB has said that what consumers need to understand is that if they deposit that check, any money that they wire, spend or send, the bank will make them pay back.
They also remind the public that if it sounds too good to be true then it generally is.
The BBB is also offering tips to consumers on how to spot this particular scam:
- Don't pay upfront fees to claim a prize. No legitimate sweepstakes company will ever ask you to pay a fee or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning — that includes paying "taxes," "shipping and handling charges," or “processing fees” to get your prize.
- Be aware that a check can bounce even after your bank allows you to withdraw cash from the deposit. Check processing is a confusing business, as is the terminology. Even if a bank representative tells you that a check has “cleared” you can’t be sure it won’t be detected as a fake weeks later.
- You’ve got to play to win. A notification that you have won a prize in a contest you do not remember entering should be a red flag.
- Be suspicious of irregular communication. Real sweepstakes will not notify you via text or bulk mail. They will not send a check in the mail without first confirming with you.