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LOTTERY AND CHECK OVERPAYMENT SCAMS 

Each year people are victimized by extremely persuasive and friendly swindlers. Today, consumers not only have to deal with door-to-door con artists, but hundreds of mail and e-mail scams.

International Lottery Scams
Scam operators, often based in Canada, use the telephone and direct mail to encourage consumers to buy chances in high-stakes foreign lotteries. Lured by the prospect of instant wealth, U.S. consumers are losing millions on these scams.

Before responding to foreign lotteries consider:

  • If you play a foreign lottery, either over the phone or via mail, you're violating federal law.
  • Most foreign lotteries are phony.
  • If you purchase one foreign lottery ticket, expect more bogus lottery or investment sales pitches. Your name will be placed on a "sucker list" that con artists buy and sell.
  • Keep your credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Do not give these numbers out.
  • If you are asked to pay taxes or fees to get your winnings, don't mail a check. It's a scam.

Check Overpayment Scams
In a check overpayment scam, someone answers your classified ad and offers to pay for the item with a cashier's or personal check. At the last minute, the so-called buyer comes up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price and asks you to wire back the difference. Later the check bounces.

Here's how to avoid a check overpayment scam:

  • Know who you're dealing with and confirm the buyer's name, address and phone number.
  • Don't accept a check for more than your selling price, no matter how tempting.
  • If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank so you can make sure the check is valid at that bank.
  • Resist any pressure to act now.

Content provided by Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA).