PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE
October 04, 2005
Subject: Lottery Scam Alert
San Francisco Police are alerting the public of lottery scams, particularly a Canadian Lottery scam in which a letter is sent containing a cashier’s check for a large amount, but requires the recipient to deposit money for “international taxes” before cashing the check. The victim pays the taxes, but the “winnings” check is bogus.
In one recent incident, the letter claimed to be from the “BC Holdings Group” and had a Better Business Bureau stamp on it. The check, for $102,950, was drawn on an Australian bank. The letter contained a toll-free number where the recipient was to be given an “activation number” to allow the check to be deposited. The caller talked to “William Gray,” who gave the victim a number and instructed the victim to wire the tax money (in this case $950) to a bank in Vancouver and not to deposit the check for five days. After the victim wired the money, the victim attempted to get in touch with “William Gray” at the number previously called, but there was no response. The victim’s bank later contacted the victim that the deposited check was counterfeit.
In another lottery scam incident, the victim received a letter from “USA Survey Lotto” with a cashier’s check drawn on an Idaho bank for $7,500. The letter stated that the winner had ten business days to file a claim for the prize money and provided a number to call. The victim was instructed to pay taxes on the “winnings” (in this case $3,800) by wiring the money to Newark, New Jersey. The “winnings” check was counterfeit.
Members of the public should be extremely wary of lottery-winning letters of this nature. Legitimate lotteries do not require that taxes be paid prior to winnings being issued. Persons receiving a letter claiming they have won a lottery should contact the SFPD Fraud Section.
For more information, please contact:
Lieutenant Kenwade Lee
850 Bryant Street, Room 549, San Francisco, CA. 94103
Tel (415) 553-1651 / Fax (415) 553-9229