When it arrives, it looks like a dream come true. But this money order scam that takes the form of a $350,000 lottery check is anything but.
Multiple San Diego residents have recently been hit with this hoax.
According to NBC, it begins when they receive a check and a letter from the “All-American Direct Lottery Sweepstakes.” Recipients are instructed to cash the check — which looks legitimate enough that a bank teller would deposit it without a second thought — and wire approximately $3,000 to an overseas account to pay for taxes and fees.
Once the money is sent, it is irretrievable. And once the bank finds out that the $350,000 check has bounced, it will recall those funds, and the former “lottery winner” will be left with nothing.
Scams like these — referred to as “check cashing and money order scams” by the San Diego Better Business Bureau — are among several types of common hoaxes that frequently target the elderly in hopes of tapping into their retirement funds.
The MetLife Mature Market Institute estimates that senior citizens in America have been the victims of scams such as these to the tune of approximately $2.6 billion per year.