Colorado Lottery warns consumers about new mail scam

The Colorado Lottery is warning consumers to steer clear of a new Lottery scam that promises $85,000 in easy cash. The scammers (using Colorado Lottery logos and a Denver mailing address) are contacting consumers through the mail, informing them that they’ve won an unclaimed prize and asking them to contact a number in Montreal to claim the winnings. Their names, the letter claims, were drawn from databases culled from Reader’s Digest, Publishers Clearinghouse, and Computer Games and Sweepstakes. The letters also include a check for $2,150, which is meant to cover processing fees and will be deducted from an individual’s winnings.

 “Don’t cash that check. It is not an official Colorado Lottery check and cashing it may give a scam artist access to your personal bank account information,” warned Colorado Lottery Director Jack Boehm. “Consumers should always be suspicious for offers of quick money, particularly if the deal requires a ‘winner’ to pay fees in order to collect a prize. The Colorado Lottery never requires ‘good faith’ money from its players.”

 Consumers who receive the letter should disregard the check (and any associated offers) and report the scam to the proper authorities. Questions or concerns about the scam should be reported to Lottery security at (800) 999-2959 or the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or (877) FTC-HELP.

 The following tips should help consumers avoid falling prey to Lottery scams:

• Never reveal your credit card and bank account numbers to anyone unless you are certain the contact is legitimate, from a reputable company with whom you have a long-term relationship.

• It is illegal for US citizens to participate in foreign lotteries through the mail, so throw away any letters claiming you’ve won a large prize.

• Be suspicious if you receive a “winner” notice for a drawing you never entered or purchased a ticket.

• Never give money or valuables to a stranger to redeem a lottery prize.

 The Colorado Lottery will only contact winners directly when an individual wins a second-chance drawing. The agency has no knowledge of winners of Lottery games — Scratch, Powerball, Lotto, and Cash 5 — until those individuals claim their prizes. For more information on claiming Colorado Lottery prizes, visit the Winners section at www.coloradolottery.com.