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Australian Lottery Scam Hits Alabama

11 July 2002

ALABAMA – As reported by the Andalusia Star-News: "Some Covington County residents have been the victim of various scams over the past few years, and a new scam is causing problems in a nearby city.

"Police in Montgomery are cautioning residents in the city to beware of what is being called the `Australian Lottery Scam.'

"The scam has apparently been focused on the elderly.

"…An 85-year-old customer recently tried to withdraw $30,000 after allegedly being contacted by a local bank, but bank personnel would not go through with the transaction, and called the police to convince the customer she was being scammed. She then left the bank with the police officer thinking she had been convinced.

"The woman, however, later went to another bank and was able to get the money, which she sent to New York. She never received anything in return.

"…Some guidelines to follow include:

"-Be wary if you get a phone call or a letter saying that you have won a fabulous prize, if the prize notification says you have to pay a small shipping and handling fee. Do not send money. You should never have to pay for a prize in any way.

"…-A new type of scam involves scammers saying they can help you recover money if you have already been scammed. These people often pose as members of a government agency, and will ask you for a fee to help you recover the lost money.

"…According to the Lectric Law Library web site, sweepstakes promoters often target older people due to their more receptive nature, and are also more likely to be interested in promotions such as vitamins, medical alert systems and vacations…"

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