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Some lose thousands in lottery scam

June 20, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

The Hagerstown Police Department warns the public against a lottery scam that has already cost a few city residents thousands of dollars, according to a written release from Sgt. Paul Kifer.

Kifer wrote that victims have received mail indicating they've won the lottery from outside the United States, such as the "Swiss Lotto, British Lotto and Canadian Lotto, etc."

The letter appears to be a "certificate of award" and instructs the recipient to take the accompanying check, which is usually for about $3,000, cash it and pay taxes and clearance fees to a lottery agent, Kifer wrote.

The agent's name, phone number and address are listed at the bottom of the form, according to the release.

Kifer said a couple city residents sent the money back to the agent and lost the amount after the bank determined they received a fraudulent check.

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"The check provided appears to be a legitimate check. The banks have been fooled; waiting a few days to cash the checks, in an attempt to ensure the check is valid," Kifer wrote.

There have been "a few occasions" over the past months in which the checks were cashed at local banks, leaving the person who cashed the check responsible to the bank for the money, according to the release.

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