3OYS: BBB issues new lottery scam warning

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz -- You've probably seen the commercials before showing those big-time sweepstakes winners.

"Someday, I’m hoping somebody knocks on my door," Phyllis Shriber said. "I see them advertise on TV where you can win $5,000 a week. I’m hoping they come to my door."

Phyllis Shriber wishes she could live that dream. So, she often goes online entering contests and sweepstakes.

"Keep hoping that I will win and pay off some bills," she said.

Then one day, Shriber got what at first glance appeared to be exciting news. A letter telling her she had been declared a winner in the mega lottery in the U.K. and a check for $3,835 came for her in the mail.

"The gentleman that wrote the letter told me to call the number as soon as I got the letter and the check, but don't tell anybody. Well, I already knew that if you don't tell anybody, there's something wrong," she said.

That's a big red flag, indeed.

"I went to the bank and talked to the bank, and they told me not to cash the check and try to investigate with the business bureau," she recalled.

Shriber got a hold of the Better Business Bureau, and it's a good thing she did. The BBB was so concerned about the scam that it issued an alert about what happened to Shriber.

"The bank told me I could probably have a lot of problems because if the check bounced and I used it, it would cause more problems with my credit," she said.

Shriber is hoping her situation resonates with others.

"It’s OK to enter contests and it's OK to try thinking that maybe something good will come out of this, but be really careful what you do on the Internet because I know it's exposure," she said.