SPOKANE, Wash. - Everyone likes getting mail, especially if there is money inside. However, scammers are sending letters in the mail along with a fake check hoping to get you to cash it and send them the money. The Better Business Bureau says it receives calls about ten times a week from people who receive these letter scams.
A viewer from Coeur d'Alene, named Jaime, sent me a copy of the letter she just received claiming she'd won a lotto jackpot in the United Kingdom. The letter came with a $3,880 check saying she needed to cash it and wire the company money for taxes and administration costs. Once Jaime followed those directions, the check would have bounced and she'd be out $3,880.
Luckily, Jaime knew the letter was a scam and that it was too good to be true. Also, the letter includes tell tale signs that it is not legitimate. First, the BBB says its illegal for a United States citizen to participate in a foreign lottery. Next, the letter includes spelling errors, including an extra "r" in Jaime's name. Even the word "promotion" is spelled incorrectly in the letterhead. Spokane Police tell people who receive this type of letter in the mail to report it to Crime Check at 456-2233.
Eventhough we'd like to think we'd be able to immediately identify a letter like this as a scam, the BBB says vulnerable populations are especially at risk of falling victim. They say those groups include people down on their luck and in need of money, as well as the elderly population who tend to be more trusting.