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Beware of lottery scams

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Lois Tett would be the first to admit she loves to play the lottery.

“Every day you can play your numbers. it don't cost me a dime,” she says.

But the online lottery games she’s regularly played for years, a few weeks ago took an interesting spin.

She received a call and the man on the other end of the phone told her she had won a half million dollars. She thought she had won, but what the caller told her she had to do to collect was a bit unorthodox.

She says he started by telling her she would have to pay a $12,000 IRS fee.

“I have NO money for this,” she told 7 ON YOUR SIDE.

“No problem,” the man on the phone says.

The bank would send her two checks, one for $9,000 and one for $3,000, he said. To prove she could be trusted she must cash the checks, buy two greeting cards, put $9,000 in one card and $3,000 in the other. Then mail the cards to an address he would give her.

She followed the instructions.

That’s a BIG RED flag says Kelsey Owen of the Better Business Bureau.

Owen says it appears Tett is falling victim to one of the biggest rip offs targeted at the elderly. The BBB says sending small checks to lottery winners is a common ploy of the scammers.

”Absolutely walk away; this is not a legitimate lottery,” says Owen.

The BBB says checks like those are cashed and will likely bounce leaving the so-called winner having to pay back the bank.

Meantime, the cash is safely in the criminal’s pocket. A legitimate contest will never require winners to pay taxes or fees up front.

And if you didn't enter a contest or lottery, don't believe the call or email from somebody telling you you're a winner.

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