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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2006
Consumer Alert: Cons Claiming to be Your Pharmacist, Rise in Fake Check Scams


SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna today warned Washington residents to be aware of a new identity theft scam in which a caller claims to be your pharmacist and asks for a list of your medications and a credit card number. He also cautioned consumers about a recent proliferation of foreign lottery and counterfeit check scams.

Seniors in Wenatchee, as well as Southern California and Chicago, have recently reported receiving cold calls along these lines. In the Wenatchee cases, the caller(s) had a foreign accent and the recipients were unable to trace the calls by dialing *69.

"Never provide any personal or financial information to an unknown caller," McKenna said. "Cons want details about your finances so that they can steal from your account or cause other harm. Legitimate companies that you do business with already have your information and will not call to ask for it. If you questions about whether a call is legitimate, hang up and contact your pharmacist or doctor directly."

McKenna said the Attorney General’s Office continues to receive an increasing number of calls from consumers inquiring about foreign lotteries.

"The Attorney General’s Office has received numerous calls from consumers who have received notices in the mail indicating they are the big winner of a foreign lottery," McKenna said. "A check is included, which the recipients are instructed to cash to help cover so-called processing fees. Consumers are then asked to wire money in order to receive the rest of their winnings.

"The checks are an attractive lure, but worthless," McKenna added. "If you cash one, it will eventually bounce and your bank will withdraw the money from your account. These pitches are always scams."

To win a legitimate lottery, you must purchase a ticket. It’s also important to know that can’t legally play a foreign lottery in the United States.

The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigate international lottery scams. You can report fraud to the FTC by filing a complaint online at www.ftc.gov or call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). Report fraud to the Postal Inspection Service at 1-800-372-8347 or online at http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/welcome.htm.

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Contact: Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer, (206) 464-6432

Join Attorney General Rob McKenna's Listserv for the latest news from the AG's office or visit our Web site at www.atg.wa.gov

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