Lotto wins prove too good to be true

Published 8:29 am Monday, May 9, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, a number of scams struck the Atmore area, costing several area residents hundreds of dollars.
The last several months had been quiet, but a new scam recently cost four Atmore residents thousands of dollars apiece.
The residents, whose names have been withheld to protect their privacy, received letters from a company claiming they had won an "international lottery" and had been chosen out of over 5,000 participants to receive upwards of $60,000. One problem with the claim is that the residents had not entered an international lottery.
Carolyn Crane of United Bank of Atmore explained the fraud in greater detail.
"They made it all look official," Crane said. "The letter had information like a contact number and who to call, and when they called it a person actually answered. They then sent them a fake cashier's check for what they said were the taxes on their winnings, and they were supposed to cash those checks. After they cashed them, they were supposed to wire the money back to the people who supplied it and then they would receive the rest of their money. Obviously, that never happened."
Crane showed off copies of two of the checks, which were addressed from banks in South Carolina and California. The residents who cashed those checks and then wired them will have to repay the bank the monies lost. One check was for just under $3,000 and the other was for around $4,800.
"There have been one or two other cases here in Atmore, and another at our branch in Frisco City," Crane said. "It costs the customer money, and it costs us money. We just want people to be aware of it."
While Crane was aware of several scams, she wanted the people of Atmore to look out for other potential scams.
"There are a lot of international scams on the internet," Crane said. "People need to look out for things like that. All these international scams have been around for a long time, but you would never think they'd make it all the way to Atmore."

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