Warning for Cook residents: Unexpected lottery jackpot a scam - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Warning for Cook Co. residents: Unexpected lottery jackpot a likely scam

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Cook County residents -- especially seniors -- are being warned of lottery scams such as the one that cost an 80-year-old suburban resident $90,000 and another 74-year-old suburban resident $82,000.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is warning residents not to be fooled by calls claiming you are a "winner" and are entitled to a large lottery cash prize though you never bought a ticket.

Scammers contact victims by phone, fax, email or letter, often with phony seals or certificates, to congratulate them on a "jackpot" but telling them need to send money via Western Union or cashier's check to a foreign address to pay for taxes and/or handling charges on the prize, according to a release from the sheriff's office.

The scammer may also contact the victim again and mention there was a mistake on the calculation and more money must be sent. Such scams are prevalent all over the country, and the sheriff's office has received numerous calls about it.

Residents are advised they cannot win a lottery without entering; there are no upfront fees for a legitimate prize; and to be suspicious if contacted by a lottery agency from another country. Never give personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers, but instead hang up immediately, the release said.

Anyone who believes they are a victim should call local law enforcement or sheriff's police at (708) 865-4896.

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