Cons, Frauds and Scams


Lottery Scams

Remember, it is illegal in the United States to participate in foreign lotteries and if you put a fraudulent check into your bank account you may be subject o criminal charges.


We have heard from many seniors who have received letters about the Spanish Lottery, "El Gordo." The letter tells the senior they have won a large sum of money and they will receive their money after they send thousands of dollars for custom fees or taxes. A woman in Phoenix just lost $20,000 to this fraud scheme. Please do not get involved in foreign lotteries -- they are illegal and they are a scam.  Remember, you should never have to pay any fees to collect a prize.


The lottery scam is still active. In this scam, someone approaches the victim in a parking lot and tells them that they have a winning lottery ticket, but because the person is an illegal immigrant they cannot cash in the ticket. So they offer to sell the victim the ticket so that they both benefit. They even go so far as to pretend to call the Lottery Office to validate the ticket. Victims in Tucson and Phoenix have lost nearly $150,000 to this scam. 


We have also received notice that Canadian lottery type scams are active. In one version, a woman received a letter stating that she was due a court settlement of $152,000 but first had to pay a "non-resident tax" of $9,000. The letter was from a Montreal address. Please call police if you receive these types of letters or telephone calls. We will forward the information on to Project Colt in Montreal that handles these scams.


Recently 8 people have fallen victim to a lottery scheme in the Phoenix area with a lost totaling over $100,000. Suspects approached these people in various parking lots and told them that they had won the lottery but because they were illegal immigrants they could not collect the winnings. The suspects volunteer to call the lottery office and when they do someone on the phone tells you that you can represent the suspects and collect the winnings for them if you bring in $20,000 for taxes to the lottery office. Once the money is in the envelope with the winning ticket, the suspects distract the victim and replace the envelope with on full of paper.


There is a new twist on the Canadian lottery scam. First of all, if you receive a call that you have won the Canadian lottery and they ask you to send a sum of money to cover custom fees or taxes -- it's a scam. Report the call to the police with as much information about the caller as you can provide. Now there are letters coming out of Canada that tell a senior that they are to receive a court settlement, but must first pay "non-resident tax." They even send a check to cover the tax that is to be deposited into the senior's account. The problem is the check is a fake, and the senior ends up losing money out of their account.



Mesa Police Department
PO Box 1466
Mesa, AZ 85211