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If you've won a real prize, you will never have to pay a fee to claim it, police say.
By SHAINA STOCKTON
The Galax Police Department is warning citizens about a scam that could cost potential victims thousands of dollars.
According to police, residents have already come forward in this area with fraudulent letters and checks they have received.
The scam involves a letter claiming that the recipient has won a large sum of money. Included with the letter is a check made payable for a partial amount of the “winnings.”
The letter instructs the recipient to send some of the money to a location for taxes, and they can keep the rest.
“By the time the check comes back, the thieves have their money, and you are responsible for the bad check deposited into your account or cashed by you,” warns the department.
Along with the warnings, the department also posted photo examples of both the letter and the check on its Facebook page.
The first question police encourage the public to ask when faced with a possible scam is, “Does it sound too good to be true?”
The photos point out several tell-tale signs of fraud:
1. The “award” recipient has probably never completed a survey with this company. How did they win anything without participating?
2. If the taxes have already been deducted from the winnings, as the letter states, why are the taxes included with the check?
3. In this example, if the taxes are $3,000, why is the check for $4,390.25?
4. The address is listed as New York. Why is the phone number in Massachusetts?
Police also warn against the believability of the check itself.
“It is printed on an actual check blank, complete with security features. But it is not worth the paper it is printed on,” said the department.
If you are suspicious about a piece of mail and think that it might be a scam, the police department encourages the public to report it immediately.
“Never hesitate to contact us if you get something you think isn’t right,” police said.
• The Galax Police Department is located at 353 North Main Street in Galax. Their phone number is (276) 236-8101.