Crooks Put New Twist on Old ‘Sweepstakes' Scheme

Fort Worth police say crooks have put a new twist on a popular scheme to steal money from unsuspecting victims.

Police said residents first receive a letter in the mail stating they’ve won $250,000. Enclosed with the letter is a check written for $2,870 which is meant to cover the "processing fee" of $2,510 for winning the larger prize.

The "winner" is then instructed to deposit the check into his or her personal bank account and then immediately make a withdrawal to and put that money in another account -- thereby paying their "processing fee" for winning the prize.

Typically, in a few days, the victim is then contacted by their bank who says the check they deposited for $2,870 is a fake and that the bank has taken back their money and left the victim on the hook for the lost cash.

Victims also soon learn they are likely no longer be able to contact the sweepstakes company and that they've been a victim of a scheme.

Police say this scheme has ran in many different ways, but generally involves the victim deposting a check into their bank account and then immediately withdrawing money to send somewhere else.

If you have a question about a check, experts recommend people ask the bank to verify the funds for deposit or to check with the issuing bank to verify the check's authenticity.

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