Three ways to spot a lottery scam

-- Madera County Sheriff's DepartmentAugust 14, 2013 

After receiving numerous questions and complaints from citizens concerning the legitimacy of lottery letters, Sheriff John Anderson is releasing three simple ways to spot a scam.

The sheriff’s department itself received a scam letter from the Netherlands Aug. 14 that read “Congratulations! You are our newest confirmed cash prize winner.”

Here’s what to watch out for:

First: No legitimate lottery will ask for fee advances much less personal information in order to claim the alleged prize.

Second: Scam Lotteries will heighten your desire to give information by telling you things such as "act now," "time is running out," and "don't miss the deadline."

Third: Participating in a foreign lottery through the mail, or over the phone, violates United States Federal law.

Anderson says an influx of lottery scams are once again cropping up in Madera County — all targeting both English and Spanish speaking residents.

What can you do to protect yourself? If they attempt to reach you by phone, hang up. If you receive a letter like the one attached in the mail, don’t respond. Tear it up, and toss it in the trash.

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