By Officer Larry Jacobs

People continue to fall for the “fake lottery scam.”

The most recent one uses the name of the Better Business Bureau. It states that you have won a contest put on by the Better Business Bureau, but that you must pay fees and taxes before you get winnings.

This is only one of many “lottery” scams out there. They go by many different names, but the results are the same: you get bilked out of your hard earned money because you did not check out the company.

Here are some guidelines offered by the Better Business Bureau so you do not become another victim.

Make sure the story checks out.

Always confirm the facts directly with the organization the representative claims to represent—whether it’s Better Business Bureau or any other organization.

Use contact information that you found on your own from the organization’s website. Don’t rely on phone numbers or web links provided by the representative. Scammers often pretend to be from legitimate businesses or non-profits and a quick call directly to the organization can help set the record straight.

Never pay money to get money.

Lottery scammers make their money by convincing victims that they have to pay money up front—to cover such costs as taxes or fees—in order to receive their winnings. Because it is extremely difficult for the victim to track or retrieve money sent via wire transfer, scammers will often use this as their payment method of choice.

Don’t fall for the phony check.

Scammers will often send a check in the mail to the victim with instructions that—in order to receive the full prize—he or she must deposit the check and wire back a portion of the funds to cover fees or taxes.

This gives the victim a false sense of security because the check will clear initially but eventually be discovered as a fake. Once the money is withdrawn from a victim’s account, he or she has lost the funds sent to the scammer.

Officer Larry Jacobs is a crime prevention specialist in the Crime Prevention Unit of the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached at