Lotto Scam Hits East Texas

"I was just sorting through the mail and I came across this," said a Lufkin resident. "I had no idea what it was, especially being postmarked from Canada, so I opened it up and a check fell out."

A dead giveaway it's a scam. Lufkin police sort through many of them every week. Bogus claims of jackpot winnings are usually sent to elderly residents. Many of them fall for the official looking documents because they are stamped with real names of sweepstakes companies like Publisher's Clearinghouse or Reader's Digest.

Lt. David Young said, "Anyone with a computer program can make these things look good, but what you look out for is a lottery or a winning that requires you to pay something to get it. If you win a lottery, you don't have to pay to receive your money."

Scammers are hard to track down because they are usually overseas. So if you fall for their tricks it will be almost impossible to get your money back.

"They will send the lottery number with a check and what they do is ask the person to deposit this check, send in the deposit and get the big bucks," said Lt. Young. "The check is bogus so when you deposit that in your account [and] write them one of your checks, they take [the amount of the bogus check] out of your banking account later."

"I was thinking 'man, this would be great to have this kind of money', but like they say, if it's too good to be true it, it probably is."

It is illegal to enter a foreign lottery in the state of Texas. If you receive a check in the mail that is from a sweepstakes or lottery, ignore it or simply throw it away.

Now that the scam has hit East Texas, more residents are expected to be targeted.