International fraud scam claims several city residents
by Courtney Warren
Apr 08, 2014 | 3420 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cleveland Police Department has discovered a scam that has cause several residents to lose thousands of dollars.

"There are letters being sent out with checks made out to individuals that live at the address claiming they've won $4,150. This is a scam and it's not true," said Police Chief Buster Bingham.

According to Bingham, the letter is from D-Advance Lottery Finance Company and says it has global offices all over the world.

"It makes you think it's a Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes Association winner. They want you to cash it and send $3,000 by Western Union. If you had actually won money you wouldn't pay taxes before receiving the winnings," Bingham explained.

"Do not cash the checks and do not deposit the checks because if you cash or deposit the checks you can be held responsible for that amount," he said.

According to Interpol, lottery fraud is one of many different types of advance-fee fraud, where the perpetrator attempts to persuade a potential victim to pay fees in advance or relatively small sums of money for a service he or she has never asked for.

In the case of a lottery scam, the money has to be paid for the transfer of a huge lottery win. Very often, names of popular companies or organizations are misused to give the lottery a trustworthy impression.

Common media are the Internet, mobile devices and cell phones.

Cleveland residents can turn information in to the Cleveland Police Department and can also report these frauds to Interpol.

If you have received an unexpected letter about a significant lottery win which has to be transferred from a foreign country to your account Interpol suggests several things: do not reply to any of these messages; do not send any money; do not send or hand over identification documents - not even copies; never give details of your bank accounts or payment cards; and never open any attachments (in an e-mail).

If you are already in contact with these criminals or have already paid advance fees: save all received and sent email and text messages; save all documents of transactions and remittances; never agree to meet the criminals in person in order to receive a prize—you will not receive any money and you may be putting yourself in danger, and contact your local police immediately and follow their advice.

Bingham said because personal information is so readily available, these companies can buy and sell information and then target whomever they desire.

"Your name and information is bought and sold every day. These people can buy your information and then target older citizens," he said.

Bingham said if anyone receives one of these letters they need to shred the letter or bring it to the police station.

"Do not cash the checks and do not deposit the checks because if you cash or deposit the checks you can be held responsible for that amount," he said.