THE SCAM: Foreign lotteries
HOW IT WORKS: Here are two variations on the classic foreign lottery scam. Residents report receiving letters that say they've won a foreign lottery, along with a realistic looking check. The letter states that the recipients have won thousands of dollars but that there are fees or taxes that must be paid before they can collect. In some variations, a phone number to call for instructions is included in the letter, although the basic idea is the same. Variations involve bogus lottery winnings from Britain, Canada and the Bahamas. Most lotteries in other countries are not open to U.S. residents.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: Your money, and your identity. Con artists typically are looking for bank account and credit card numbers as well as other personal financial information.
HOW TO BEAT IT: As a rule, foreign lotteries are bogus. Don't go for anything that requires you to pay upfront.