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Dayton Police Warn of Lottery Check Scam
DAYTON -- Police on Wednesday were contacted by a concerned resident who received a suspicious letter from an agency called Sure Financial Incorporated, Lottery Resources Management & Payment Verification.
Dayton Police say the letter included a check written on a JPMorgan Chase Bank account under the business name of Fitch, Inc. of Chicago, Ill. The letter states the recipient was selected from a serial number attached to [her] name to win $250,000 from a recent consumers sweepstakes lottery.
The recipient was instructed to deposit the $3,850 check in order to pay the $3,600 processing fee needed to claim the prize money. The letter listed a few contact numbers and the name of a claims agent David Akuwadik.
It also warned against acting on the notice without contacting the claims agent, in order to avoid cases of misappropriation and mishandling of prize monies.
Police say the resident was right to be concerned. An Internet search turned up many examples of people from all over the United States who received similar letters from this agency and found them to be fraudulent.
According to Dayton Police officials, this agency might be based out of country, as several of the descriptions mentioned postmarks from Portugal. It also appears this companys mailings are specifically targeting senior citizens.
Police say there are a few obvious warning signs in the letter: The complainant did not enter any lottery or sweepstakes and the company is asking the recipient to pay a processing fee of $3,600 in order to claim their prize. The fact that they are supplying a check for the fees is irrelevant. When the check is declined by the bank, the depositor is responsible for any banking fees. Furthermore, police say, by depositing the check you may inadvertently provide the fraudulent business with your banking information. Copies of the letter and check are enclosed.
Here are some additional reminders on how to avoid being the victim of a scam:
Its clich but accurate if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Do not provide your Social Security number, full name, date of birth or banking/credit card info to ANYONE other than people from known reputable agencies with whom YOU have initiated the contact.
Never give money to get money. If you have won anything, it should come with no strings attached. Otherwise its not a prize, but a means of lowering your defenses.
Never deposit checks from companies with which you do not do business, especially if they promise loans, debt consolidation or any other service.
Never give in to high pressure. If what theyre offering is so great, it will stand on its own merit.
Thoroughly check the reputation of any company who solicits your business.
- If youre thinking about doing business with a company that has contacted you by phone, mail or door-to-door sales, get the contact persons name, street address (not a PO box) and telephone number. Tell them youll call them back after doing a little internet research. Then THOROUGHLY investigate the business by name, address & phone number before agreeing to do business with them.
- You can also check with their local BBB or State Attorney Generals office for additional info.
- If an agent is hesitant to provide basic information about the company, or refuses to extend the offer until after youve investigated the legitimacy of their business, immediately terminate the conversation and consider contacting your local police department or state Attorney Generals office to determine whether you have grounds to file a complaint.
If you have any questions, please contact Major David Wolford, Superintendent of the Central Patrol Operations Division, at 333-1108.
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