"It's against federal law for a United States citizen to enter a lottery in a foreign country, therefore you can't win one," states Postal Inspector Dwayne Martin.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Typically when you think about criminals, the Post Office probably isn't the first place that comes to mind. However, numerous con artists and scammers are improperly using the U.S. Postal Service's name and services to trick consumers out of money.
The U.S. Postal Service wants to warn consumers about fraudulent mail schemes hitting Mississippians hard.
"I just got a call yesterday about an elderly lady in Mississippi that was sending legitimate money to Jamaica thinking she won a lottery," said U.S. Postal Inspector Dwayne Martin.
Martin said it's a common scam. Mississippians are targets for foreign lottery schemes, mainly out of Canada and Jamaica.
"They'll send you notification via email, phone and even U.S. mail," said Martin.
The scammers often use counterfeit U.S. Postal Service money orders to trick those targeted by the foreign lotto scam.
"They go head and send you this counterfeit money order first to cash and wire the money back to them to supposedly pay your legal fees and your left holding the bait because it's a counterfeit instrument you cashed," Martin explained.
When it comes to fraudulent mail schemes Martin said consumers should never wire money to someone you don't know, ignore suspicious phone calls or emails and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
The re-shipping scam is another common type of mail fraud. Criminals will use a stolen credit card to purchase merchandise and then they ask a U.S. citizen to re-ship the package overseas. A Mississippi woman was caught up in the scheme hoping she could make some extra cash.
"This person thought they were doing legitimate work at home they sent their resume into these people they said they did a background check, congratulations you got a job," said Martin.
A job was far from reality though.
Martin explained, "they're getting totally free merchandise using somebody else's credit card which most of the time is a victim in the U.S."
Martin adds that if you have a question regarding a money order you have received, bring it into the Post Office and they can tell you if the money order is genuine. For more information on identifying these scams and others go onto the USPS website at www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov. You can also call 877-876-2455.
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