Banking Commissioner John P. Burke Alerts
Consumers of Lottery Scam
August 10, 2005 -
State Banking Commissioner John P. Burke advised Connecticut consumers to be suspicious if you receive a letter in the mail that states you may have won a lottery.
"It has come to my attention that people have received mail notifying them that they have won a lottery.  Accompanying the notification is a counterfeit bank check for the consumer to cash," stated Commissioner Burke. “This mail is, in fact, a complicated scam attempting to steal money from the bank and from the consumer.”

The check supposedly represents an advance of the lottery winnings.  In order to receive the full amount of the winnings the individual is told to cash the check and wire a portion of the money back to the company.  However, that company never intends to send winnings back, and instead steals the individual’s money.
The scam has another avenue to pilfer funds as well.  Anticipating that most people who receive the letter would be skeptical, the company provides a 1-800 number to “verify” the correspondence.  Once the recipient of the letter calls, a phony operator representing the financial institution states that for security purposes, they need to provide personal information, including ATM or credit card numbers, their Personal Identification Number (PIN), or their Social Security Number in order to receive the money.  This information is then used by the thieves to empty that person’s account.
“If you receive any mail of this type DO NOT cash the check.  Instead, using a telephone number you know to be valid, NOT the 1-800 number, call to inform your institution of your suspicions of fraud,” recommended Commissioner Burke.  “This is a scam which attempts to defraud the consumer, not once, but twice.  Please be vigilant in protecting your personal information and remember if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Individual complaints may be filed at the Internet Fraud Complaint Center. For more information on these and other types of "phishing" scams please check out the Department of Banking's Web site.