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Fort agency issues warning on check scam sent through mail
Sierra Vista Herald, Sierra Vista Arizona ^ | Oct 5, 2005 | GENTRY BRASWELL

Posted on 10/05/2005 7:32:44 PM PDT by SandRat

FORT HUACHUCA -- A family on the post was recently affected by a scam via the mail -- a lottery check scam.

"All they need is a couple (of victims) to do it, then they're good to go," said Tanja Linton, a spokeswoman for the fort. "There is at least one family that was affected by this, which is of course one family too many."

Most people these days don't faltl for these kinds of fraudulent solicitations, she said, but the criminals target victims who may be more naive about modern fraud, Linton said.

Such schemes, she said, "get very adaptive. They know how to pick on people's heart strings."

"That's who they tailor their pitches to," Linton said.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division Office at Fort Huachuca disseminated a criminal information bulletin concerning a "lottery check scam" that happened on post, wherein unsuspecting individuals were sent a false check with claims of lottery winnings.

The CID bulletin indicates Universal Lotto Productions, 100 Rowena Drive No. 600, Toronto, Canada, whose telephone listing is 416-821-0697, as the scammers in this incident.

They send an "official looking letter which indicates the individual has won a certain amount of money, and request the potential victim contact the payment office to collect," the Army CID bulletin reads. "Once contact is made, the scammers announced that due to 'federal and international laws, prize winnings are released as soon as your clearance fee is paid.'"

This sets up the hook. The scammers verify the personal information of a victim, then say a check will be deducted from the lottery winning.

The scammers reportedly tell the potential victim to contact the Universal Lotto Productions office upon receiving the check for instructions about where to cash it and where to send the "clearance fee." About a week later, the potential victim in this case received an official-looking check from the Arvest Bank, P.O. Box 5000 Springdale AK 72765.

"The scam is completed when the individual deposits the check and sends the 'fees,' via Western Union, to the designated location. The check is later found to be worthless and the person who cashes the check incurs the cost," the Army bulletin said.

The check appears to be legitimate, bearing water marks, original signature, routing number and a red-herring bank number for authenticity verification.

The fake bank number is routed back to the scammers in Toronto, who identify themselves as Arvest Bank. They then verify the check's authenticity.

The CID coordination with Arvest Bank indicates the bank has issued no such checks, and that numerous individuals have been similarly defrauded in their name.

The Sierra Vista Police Department has dealt with a handful of similar "change-fraud" schemes with scammers often located overseas involving such things as fake Western Union checks, Officer Colin Festa said. In these incidents, scammers posed as online and newspaper classified shoppers.

REPORTER Gentry Braswell can be reached at 515-4680.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Government; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: agency; check; fort; issues; mail; scam; sent; through; warning

1 posted on 10/05/2005 7:32:49 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: 2LT Radix jr; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; 80 Square Miles; A Ruckus of Dogs; acad1228; AirForceMom; ..

We're all in this together.

2 posted on 10/05/2005 7:33:20 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

and where to send the "clearance fee."

There is your heads up.

3 posted on 10/05/2005 7:36:29 PM PDT by WasDougsLamb (Just my opinion.Go easy on me........)
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To: SandRat

Any idea how much they get for the "clearance fee"?

4 posted on 10/05/2005 7:40:23 PM PDT by TheLion
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To: TheLion


5 posted on 10/05/2005 7:46:47 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: WasDougsLamb

Um, I had a client like this. Won a million dollars..

Of course, he had to send the tax.

He was up to $6,000.00 sent before it dawned upon him that he was being robbed...

6 posted on 10/05/2005 7:47:04 PM PDT by Experiment 6-2-6 (Admn Mods: tiny, malicious things that glare and gibber from dark corners.They have pins and dolls..)
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To: SandRat


7 posted on 10/06/2005 3:02:05 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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