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Police warn of foreign lottery scheme

Apr 6, 2006, 10:15 am

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A new twist on an old scam has bilked some Enid, Oklahoma, residents out of $2,500 to $8,500, police said.

Enid Police Department Detective Mike Riley said he's received three or four calls a day for the last couple of weeks concerning this particular scam.

Some are notified by mail they have won a foreign lottery, such as the Australian, Canadian, Portuguese or United Kingdom lotteries, and are told someone will stop by to collect money to cover insurance and handling costs, Riley said. The person will not show, and those being scammed will be called and asked to wire the money.

"It sounds real good, but it's just a real convoluted scheme," Riley said.

In other cases, a check will be mailed from what appears to be a legitimate company or business, with stolen routing numbers. If the check is cashed, the person who cashed it is responsible when it is returned.

"It's a hard sell and high pressure," Riley said. "By the time you realize, it's too late."

Capt. Jim Nivison said several people in Enid had fallen prey to the scam and now are having to repay their financial institutions.

"They've been popping up," Nivison said. "We want citizens to be aware and keep an eye for things that sound too good to be true."

Riley said using common sense should help if one is contacted about a possible scam.

"If you win the Oklahoma lottery you don't have to go down to the city and give them money," he said. "You shouldn't have to give money to win money."

Citizens are urged to check with their financial institution if they have questions regarding suspicious checks. They also are advised not to divulge personal information without proper identification from those seeking the information.

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