Residents in small towns in Iowa are not accustomed to some of the big time problems that arise in some big cities, but there is one scam that is sweeping through the state, lottery fraud. People are receiving letters in their mail boxes claiming that they have won large amounts of money, most of the time upwards of $1 million.
The latest scam comes with a stamp from an engineering company logo, and is postmarked from Niagara Falls, Canada. The letter informs recipients that they have won at least $1.1 million through the 2007 North American Sweepstakes, with the total cash prize to be split among others whose names were also drawn as winners.
The letter then instructs the people to cash and deposit a $1950 check into their bank accounts to trigger the sending of the rest of their money.
The problem with this scam in particular was the authentication of the check according to the sheriff’s office, who have received an overload of phone calls about the scam over the past week.
This scam is similar to a Nigerian scam that tricks recipients into believing they have won a large sum of money in an international lottery.
The major trouble area with these scams warns the sheriffs office is that they can lead to devastating effects such as identity theft, where people will be scarred for a long time on their credit reports, not to mention financially.
In a recent report, the U.S. Secret Service crime division claims to receive 300 to 500 pieces of correspondence and 100 phone calls daily about lottery scams. That number is enough to raise the red flag on the increasing prevalence of lottery scams.