Look out for lottery win scam - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

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Look out for lotto win scam

A man who thought he won $150,000 now knows he was scammed.

Marcus Flannigan got a check in the mail that turned out to be phony and could have cost him thousands of dollars.

Mr. Flannigan worries that others might fall for these kinds of scams. It's a letter stating you won hundreds of thousands of dollars, but to get it, you have to pay.

It's a lotto he never played but $150,000 could be his, says the letter which came with a check for nearly $4,000.

"I'm paying hospital and doctor bills. I've got to get work done on my teeth. This time of year it was definitely tempting, but I knew better," said Flannigan.

He noticed lots of red flags.

"It's from Canada. The letter's from Canada, but the check's from Texas," said Flannigan.

The letter says the check is to pay the taxes on the winnings, nearly $2,000 which must go through a claims agent and it lists a phone number.

We called.

The check is drawn on a legitimate bank, but anyone who deposited it would soon learn the funds weren't there. And instead of winning big, they actually lose even bigger, especially if they wire money to the scammers.

"I had a friend who did it, unfortunately. It took him almost two years to get everything straightened out," said Flannigan.

Flannigan says he wants to warn people, especially senior citizens to be wary of these scams. On disability with a kid in college, he's disheartened that people would stoop so low, but he's glad he didn't fall victim.

Flannigan turned the check and letter over to the sheriff's office, who sent it to the Secret Service.

These types of lottery scams has been going on for years and if you receive a letter like that, do as he did and contact local law enforcement.

Unfortunately, most of the crooks behind these scams operate internationally and it's hard for investigators to track them down.

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