Local Restaurant Owner, Escambia Sheriff’s Office Warn Of Lotto Scam
March 21, 2013
When Jimmy Carter of Jimmy’s Grill in Molino received a check for $3,875 and a letter from Waterhouse Financial Services in Toronto notifying him that he had won $125,000 — his share of a $3 million prize — he knew something just did not seem right.
“We thought it was a fraudulent or scam type thing,” he said, adding that he was initially going to throw the letter away. “On top of this check that was made out to me was the logo that was on one of my things that I bought from my food distributor. That was making me think at that time that we had something that was legitimate.”
He called the Canadian 647 area code number on the letter and was told by a man with foreign accent that he was a winner selected in the International Shoppers Lotto Powerball conducted in North America. He was to cash the check in order to pay $1,875 in taxes on his winnings.
“This person was telling me to deposit the check in my checking account then I would receive the additional money once I called them back again,” Carter said. Along with an employee, he decided it was definitely a scam.
“It was not true what they were saying, and it was a scam,” he said.
Escambia County investigator David Ingram said Carter’s report was beneficial, not only because it allowed the ECSO to forward the information to the appropriate agencies, but also because it provided an opportunity to alert the public about the scam.
“We have the original check, the original document which we can process for fingerprints, so there is some additional evidence we can forward to the appropriate agency,” Ingram said.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office offers the following tips to avoid being the victim of fraud:
○ Never pay taxes or fees before collecting winnings
○ Never send money to win money or merchandise
○ Foreign lotteries and sweepstakes are illegal in the U.S.
○ Never deposit a questionable check
○ Call your bank or local law enforcement with questions
Pictured top: Jimmy Carter hard at work at his Jimmy’s Grill in Molino. Pictured bottom inset: A scam lotto letter received by Carter. Courtesy images for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.