Scams promises riches and delivers pain

We have all gotten them in the mail.

A letter that congratulates you on being a winner of millions of dollars.

That was the case of a Kingman man who recently received a letter that starts out saying, "You are now rich for life."

The letter claims the victim is the only winner of a $2.5 million prize from the Australian lottery.

These letter or phone scams have plagued the Kingman area like a bad cold.

The Kingman Police Department is warning residents not to fall for scams that sound too good to be true, KPD Cpl.

Tracie Homer said.

"We want to remind everyone that you never need to pay anything if you have won money or prizes," Homer said.

"That in itself is a sure sign of fraudulent activity."

Federal law prohibits the use of mail to sell or buy lottery tickets or letters asking to share in a lottery.

The Australian lottery scam, with an official looking check in the amount of $2,500,000, asked the victim to send $17 on an acceptance form.

There is also space for a credit card number.

KPD warns residents never give out personal information such as credit card numbers, bank accounts number, or other financial data over the phone or through the mail.

Homer said there has also been a recent report of a scam that has hit Kingman before.

A letter from the wife of the former Nigerian head of state asks the victim's help in collecting more than $32 million from her deceased husband's will.

The letter is eerily similar to a scam last year that involved a South African mining company.

That letter was sent to about a half dozen residents and businesses in the Kingman area.

Another similar scam involved victims who received phone calls from Canada telling them they have won the Canadian lottery and to redeem the prize they needed to send them money, Homer said.

Still other scams have surfaced in Kingman where a person calls and offers a pre-approved credit card.

The caller then asks for the victim's savings account number.

Never give any caller your bank account number.

They can use it to withdraw your money without your knowledge, Homer said.

Another recent scam asked for the victim to call a number that begins with an unfamiliar area code, which is out of the country.

The victim is asked to call an answering machine where they are then charged hundreds even thousands of dollars for the long distant call.

Most scams target the elderly and with Kingman's large retirement community, the area is a prime target for scam artists.

About 80 percent of telemarketing is aimed at senior citizens.

Of that, about 10 percent of telemarketers are illegal.

About $40 billion is lost each year nationwide to phone scams, Homer said.

Report any suspicious activity or telemarketing frauds to your local law enforcement agency or to the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060.