BELPRE - A small-winnings lottery scam has returned to the Mid-Ohio Valley, with victims being notified by mail, officials said.
The Belpre Police Department is investigating reports of a lottery winnings scam targeting elderly residents, said Sgt. Joseph Fields with the Belpre Police Department.
The victim receives a letter in the mail from Standard Trust Financial Services, a company claiming to be from Fort Knox, Ky., he said.
Standard Trust Financial services claims it has been tasked with informing the victim of their lottery winnings by the International Sweepstakes Organization, Fields said. The lottery winnings are a small amount, usually for $275,000.
Included in the envelope is a check for $4,550, made out in the victim's name. The instructions with the check say that it is to be used to cover a processing fee of $3,525 associated with claiming the winnings of the lottery, Fields said.
The letter promises the victim that, once the processing fee has been collected, the lottery winnings will be delivered by private carrier directly to the victim's home, he said.
One example provided to the Belpre Police was a check that was drawn from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Fields said. When authorities called the bank headquarters, they learned that the account number on the check was not valid, Fields said.
"We verified that the check and the letter are a scam," he said.
Residents are warned not to attempt to cash the check, Fields said.
The letter asks for personal information from the victim, to be used in the claims process, Fields said. Residents are cautioned not to call the phone number on the letter, or to provide any information to the company.
The Belpre Police Department reminds all citizens that they should never have to pay in order to collect winnings of any sort, Fields said.
"If it's too good to seem true, then it usually is," he said.
Residents are asked to review all of their mail for scams of this nature in the coming weeks, Fields said. Anyone who receives this scam, or one like it, in the mail should contact their local authorities immediately to assist in the investigation, he said.