Mega Millions Mega Scam

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

We all dream of becoming instantly rich and the most common scam in the stateline right now capitalizes on that hope.
Two days ago, James Johnson received a letter in the mail saying he'd won $175,00 from Mega Millions Lottery, which he plays online.
"I was very excited, I mean oh I won, I mean everybody would be happy," says Johnson.
But his jubilation didn't last long. The letter also contained a $3,980 cashier's check... and a catch.
Johnson explains, "They ask them, for the people to deposit the check in the bank, then they contact people and then ask them to go ahead and wire and or transfer the money to an account to cover taxes or insurance."
When Johnson took the check in to deposit, the bank manager told him it was a fraud. The account numbers on the check had been stolen.
A representative from Rockford's Better Business Bureau says they get 3 or 4 calls a day from people receiving letters like this one. And many aren't lucky enough to catch the fraud before they cash the check.
"I've heard of many people being left holding the bag and having to pay the banks back and wondering are they actually responsible, well yes you are," says Dennis Horton of the Better Business Bureau.
Investigations are under way to track down these scammers. Johnson traced his to Ontario, Canada from a cell phone number they gave him.
But Horton says it'll be hard to get any more information than that. They come from all over and usually use p.O. Boxes.
"You don't have to provide any information about yourself to get a post office box, so once you've collected your mail, you never have to go back there, so finding the individuals who perpetrate these scams is really a difficult thing to do," says Horton.
I spoke to one of the people behind this scam tonight. I told him I had received a letter and was calling to collect. Once he realized I wasn't on the list, he hurled a few expletives at me and hung up.
A Rockford Police sergeant says you could even be charged with fraud for depositing one of these checks, unless you can prove you didn't know it was a fake.
Horton says to check out the source of any check you receive before cashing it.
The scams come under the name of many different lotteries and are usually run out of foreign countries. They are in no way related to the Mega Millions lottery or any other legitimate lottery.


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