Scammers using govt. letterheads to steal money, Mo. AG Koster says | St. Louis Public Radio

Scammers using govt. letterheads to steal money, Mo. AG Koster says

Jul 25, 2012

The latest scam designed to separate Missouri residents from their money involves phony letters from the State Attorney General’s office, the IRS and other government agencies.

The letters include a fake government letterhead, and state that the recipient has won a million dollars or more in prize money.  Attorney General Chris Koster (D) says the intended victims are then informed that they owe thousands of dollars in taxes and fees on the winnings and are instructed to pay them via Western Union.

“I have in my hand a letter from ‘the FBI,'" Koster said.  "(It) claims that, ‘you have won $3.5 million, but you owe $2,600 in a winner’s fee, and you need to submit it' to this address, which so far we have traced to Florida.”

Koster advises anyone who receives one of these letters to save the paperwork and contact the Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222.

“It’s a new variation on an old scheme, but the blatancy with which these letters are claiming government legality is stunning," Koster said.  "If you weren’t familiar with the actual letterhead of these organizations, it would actually look very close…but these letters are absolutely false.”

Koster is seeking re-election as Missouri Attorney General this fall.