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Consumer Alert:

07/17/2007

Consumer Alert: CFO Sink Warns of Bogus Lottery, Check Scam

 

 

CONTACT:  Tara Klimek or Nina Banister 
(850) 413-2842 
Phony check looks like State of Florida warrant and bears CFO’s name
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is warning consumers to be on the lookout for a bogus lottery contest scam that includes a letter indicating the recipient has won money from the “North American Prize Pool” along with a check that appears to be a State of Florida warrant and contains the CFO’s name and signature—but it is all bogus, warned CFO Sink.
 
“So far we have no information that anyone has cashed the check or been financially harmed, but these vultures are playing a numbers game,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department.  “They are sending out hundreds of bogus letters and checks hoping that if only one percent of the recipients respond they will be able to make some easy money.”
 
The bogus checks have been traced so far to Washington, California, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and Florida.

The letter indicates it comes from the “Lottery, Resources Management & Payment Verification Center” and provides a British Columbia address.   The last sentence of the letter advises consumers against sharing the information with others:  “Please note that in accordance with our company’s policy … and safety reasons, we strongly advice [sic] that you keep your winnings and claim number confidential and personal.”
 
The letter claims the recipient has won $100,000, provides a claim number and directs the recipient to contact Jean Gorden at 1-416-854-2096.  The letter states that the enclosed check for $3,850 is intended to cover non-residence taxes, but upon calling the phone number provided in the letter, the recipient is directed to cash the check and use the cash to buy a MoneyGram to send to an address in Toronto, Ontario.   Each of the checks included in the letters contain the same warrant number, 7714957150.  Canadian officials have been advised of the scam.
 
The Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Integrity is looking into the matter.  Anyone who receives one of these letters is asked to call the Department’s Consumer Helpline at 1-800-342-2762.