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Idahoans lose thousands to lottery scam every year

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Dec 06 2012 06:48:36 PM CST

The Better Business Bureau says Idahoans lose thousands of dollars every year come lottery season and it all starts by answering the phone.

REXBURG, Idaho -

Even though lottery winners were announced days ago, scammers are preying on Idahoans still hoping to cash in on a prize.

The hoax has hit the upper valley and according to police, scammers are targeting folks living in Rexburg.

The Better Business Bureau says Idahoans lose thousands of dollars every year come lottery season and it all starts by answering the phone.

Victims of the scam are told they have won the lottery, but they must first pay transfer fees, taxes, give proof of identity, or information on their bank accounts or credit cards in order to get their winnings.

"There are two simple rules with the lottery. First and foremost, you have to play in order to win -- so if someone calls you out of the blue saying you won guess what, you haven't," said Dale Dixon, BBB CEO. "Second, you never have to pay upfront to collect your winnings."

Not only do you never have to pay before getting your winnings, it's illegal to do so. But the Better Business Bureau said people fall for it every year.

"Sometimes the payment is as low as $20 and people will think it's worth a chance," said Dixon. "They'll pay the $20 if they have an opportunity to collect millions."

But in reality, the victims don't collect anything. It's the scammers who profit.

"We have people in Idaho who have lost over 90,000 to these lotteries and it's important to realize that the moment you pay, you confirm you're a sucker," said Dixon.

The scam doesn't just apply to phone calls. The BBB said scammers may also try to contact you through mail or internet. If that happens, the BBB said it's best to ignore them.

If you've received one of these calls, the BBB would like to know. You can give them a call at 324-4649.

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