Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter is warning residents that a lottery scam is making the rounds locally.
Those targeted are sent an official-looking letter and check bearing the name "Apotex Securities." The letter lists the company as having a Canada address, while the check lists a Commerce Township, Mich. address and says it is drawn off Comerica Bank in Detroit.
"This is a scam," Bookwalter said. "Throw it in the trash."
The letter proclaims the recipient the winner of a portion of a lottery.
"We have made many unsuccessful attempts to contact you regarding this winning," the letter declares. "You are therefore entitled to the sum of $125,000 U.S. dollars. This is from a total prize money of $4 million U.S. dollars that was shared and presented among the other 32 declared winners. Please note that all the participants were selected through a random computer ballot system drawn from over 500,000 names."
The letter goes on to list a "claim number," and says the check (for nearly $5,000) enclosed with it "has been deducted from your winning" and is for the payment of applicable government taxes.
"The tax amount is UDS $2,975 to be paid either by Western Union or MoneyGram directly to the tax agent," the letter says.
The supposed lottery winner is told in the letter not to attempt to cash the check until they call (647) 836-4133.
"We urge you to keep this winning confidential until your claim has been processed and your cash remitted to you as part of our security protocol," the letter says.
The letter lists "Mr. Barry Benson" as a claims/disbursement agent and Martin Lawson as a promotion manager.
Bookwalter said those receiving lottery winning notifications should look for the following suspicious attributes:
* The lottery is outside the United States, usually in Canada.
* The recipient has to send money somewhere, usually by wire transfer.
* It is not a well-known lottery.
"Always remember the advice most grandparents gave us," Bookwalter said. "'You don't get something for nothing.'"