Lancaster deputies warn of mail, check scam

Deputies in Lancaster are warning residents about a possibly new scam after a man received a letter from a fake finance company that he won the lottery.

A 70-year-old man reported to police that he received a letter from the “International Finance Department” headquartered in Ontario, Canada, according to a Lancaster County Sheriff’s news release. The letter told the victim that he won $200,000, and that enclosed was a check worth $4,450.

The letter closed with instructions for the man to contact a claims agent and provided a phone number “for further instructions on how to claim your big winnings.” The check was allegedly issued by Hotel Nikko, Inc. in San Francisco, Calif., and written on a “Union Bank” check.

Deputies say the fake letter and check is a scam typically used to obtain a person’s bank account information, the release states. When a victim attempts to deposit the check in their bank, the check is revealed to be invalid. The check is canceled and returned to the issuer, who by then will have all the victim’s account information.

Sheriff Barry Faile said in the release: “This is another example of the confusing tactics that these criminals use. When someone receives a check in the mail that appears to be valid, it is a natural response to deposit that check in their accounts. However, citizens need to be reminded that when they are notified about receiving free money, they are likely being targeted for a scam. Do not give out your personal information to anyone and do not deposit checks from sources that you cannot verify.”

Anyone who receives a call of this nature or any other scam should report it promptly to their local law enforcement agency.