Imagine being instantly wealthy... just in time for the holidays.
Crooks are using that dream to reach out to retirees and seniors.
They're mailing out this letter... which sounded great to a Colorado Springs senior.
The Attorney General for the Fourth District, John Newsome says he found out about it from the neighbor of an 86 year old Colorado Springs resident. The neighbor called and told him about the Canadian lottery scam.
Newsome says, "In this particular case, this bogus company told the individual that they were going to come to his house to pick up the money that he owed for taxes...and so we set up a sting operation... hoping that they would show up, and they never did."
The letter, reportedly from Independent Financial Trust out of Toronto... says you've won 290-thousand U.S. dollars.
All that's required, paying a tax of $2900... wired to Canada via Western Union.
For your convenience, a check for $3,800 is enclosed... but no surprise... it's no good, too.
District Attorney Newsome says their goal is always shutting down the bad guys... but catching them is the hard part.
Newsome says, "They're very elusive, they're kind of a shadowy operation so that criminals come and criminals go... and operating from different states and different countries away from Colorado... and that's what makes it difficult."
A recent CBS report revealed that 67 percent of all money coming into Western Union offices in Ottawa... was tied to fraud.
The reason... the crooks are literally making thousands of dollars from their victims... and if caught... they only receive the lightest of sentences.
If you get a congratulations letter from Canada... report it to Canadian authorities at Phone Busters. Their toll-free number is 1-888-495-8501.
Remember... money you wire via Western Union ... Is virtually untraceable once it's picked up on the other end.