On Your Side: Feeling Lucky?

By: Ryan Duffy
By: Ryan Duffy

It might seem great to get a check in the mail when you didn't have to earn it...but in most cases it is a sure sign of a scam.

12 On Your Side's Ryan Duffy shows it can be hard to tell.

The only lottery you might have a shot at winning is one in which you buy a lottery ticket.

Your odds aren't good, it's true; but when you receive a letter that you won a lottery you didn't enter, the odds are very good you're being scammed.

Perfect example: a woman in Garfield, Georgia received two checks that were supposed to be the prize money in a lottery she'd never heard of.

All she had to do was mail back a little of it to cover taxes.

She didn't, luckily, but the forgeries were so good a bank would have probably cashed them.

"As a general statement," says Ed Templeton, president of SRP Credit Union, "if someone walked in with one of those two checks, there's nothing here that would cause us to think they are less than authorized or legitimate checks."

But they are fakes.

Templeton showed us quite a few very real-looking forged checks that have come in to the bank.

They are from either lottery scams or some variation.

When they bounce, the bank has no choice but to come after the person who cashed it to pay up.

So remember, you are the person responsible for that check you're trying to cash.

Are you really confident in vouching for a check coming from someone you don't know, usually from another country, from a lottery you never entered?

I know I wouldn't be.

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