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AG Warns Of New Twist On Canadian Lottery Scam
June 14, 2005
Attorney General Steven Rowe today warned Mainers that professional con artists are using the pretense of a Canadian lottery to bilk Mainers out of thousands of dollars, with a new twist: they send a cashiers check. "IGA Management Payment Systems," which claims to do business from Ottawa, is mailing letters to Maine residents announcing that they have won the "North American Prize Pool." Recipients of the letter are told that they have won over three hundred thousand dollars in cash. Recipients are told that before the winnings can be sent to them, they must pay a certain amount for "taxes and charges." An authentic looking four thousand dollar "cashier's check" that appears to be drawn on a Texas bank is enclosed with an explanation that it is being sent to help the recipient pay for the "taxes and charges." The recipient is encouraged to "keep this award from public notice" and to call a "lottery claim agent" at an Ottawa phone number to "finalize the payment process." If the recipient calls, he/she is asked to provide identifying information and to provide his/her bank account and routing information so that the alleged "lottery winnings" can be deposited. The recipient is then instructed to deposit the check in his/her bank account and to wire transfer the remaining several thousand dollars in "taxes and charges" to IGA. Of course, the four thousand dollar check is worthless, but that news often comes only after recipients have disclosed their bank account information and may have sent money to IGA.
Canadian law enforcement officials have received 45 complaints against IGA Management between April 15, 2005 and June 6, 2005. Of these 45 complaints received, 4 are victims with a total loss of $15,503. Canadian authorities also received 65 complaints about North American Prize Pool between May 3, 2000, and June 3, 2005. Of these 65, 13 are actual victims with a total dollar loss of $36,041.
The Attorney General also recently learned of an identical scam operating out of Vancouver, British Columbia using the name Coral Management Payment Systems using fake checks that appear to be drawn on a Texas bank as well.
"If you receive a mailing advising you that you have won a lottery prize but that you must pay a fee or disclose personal financial information such as bank account information before collecting the prize, don't be fooled," warned Attorney General Steven Rowe. "The letter and enclosed check may look real, but they are not. They are a sham, pure and simple. My advice is to throw them away."
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this scheme, contact the Maine Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-436-2131 or by email at email@example.com. You can also contact Canadian authorities at 1-888-495-8501 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
LINDA CONTI, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, 207-626-8591