Article published on 6 January 2011

New York Lottery Scam Widespread

Warnings of New York lottery scam
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Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has warned of a lottery scam in which targets are told they have a state lottery drawing and will be awarded thousands of dollars.

Targets are sent a letter in which they are told that they have won a USA Mega state lottery drawing in August and have won thousands of dollars in prize money.

The letter is sent in the name of a company named Alpha Financial Service from Canada Nova Scotia which claims to have been given the assignment of informing winners and paying them their prize money.

The letter includes a counterfeit New York state check made out for thousands of dollars. Targets are told to contact a claims agent in order to activate the cheque.

The need for activation is allegedly to cover the recipient's tax liability for the prize and once this 'tax amount' has been paid, players will be able to cash in the cheque for the prize.

Targets will be required to pay thousand of dollars of their own money to complete the activating process.

The comptroller said: "This particular scam is especially shameful because it's occurring during the holiday season at a time when people can be particularly vulnerable."

He continued on to warn that "people need to remember that when it sounds too good to be true it all too often is. No legitimate cheque from the State of New York would ever be used as part of a mystery shopper programme."

No contact information could be found for Alpha Financial Services in Nova Scotia. Any New Yorkers who fear they may be the target of a scam of any sort can contact the comptroller's office at 888-OCS-4555.

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