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For Immediate Release
June 23, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CONSUMER ADVISORY: FOREIGN LOTTERY SCAMS

Today Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. is issuing a consumer advisory to warn Marylanders about foreign lottery scams that claim affiliation with the Maryland State Lottery Agency.

Maryland consumers have received these foreign lottery scam solicitations by either telephone or mail. One scam originates from Spain and claims that after the “winner” sends the foreign lottery a fee, the Maryland State Lottery Agency will pay the prize. Another scam originates from Canada and also claims the “winner” must send a fee in order to claim the prize, and that the sponsor of this foreign lottery is also a sponsor of the Maryland State Lottery Agency. One foreign lottery scam sent “money orders” to the consumer to induce the consumer to send a fee up front.

Attorney General Curran reminds consumers that a legitimate lottery does not ask for payment of a fee in order to claim a prize. If anyone asks for payment of money up front, it should be a warning that the lottery probably is not legitimate. Also, the Maryland State Lottery Agency, through its authorized agents, is the only lottery that may lawfully sell lottery tickets in Maryland. The Maryland State Lottery Agency does not sponsor, make payments on behalf of, or otherwise support any foreign lotteries.

Consumers may check various websites regarding illegal lotteries and sweepstakes, including the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov (or consumers may telephone the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP), the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org/alerts/search.aspx, the Lottery Insider at www.lotteryinsider.com/news and the United States Postal Service at www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud.

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