Not long ago, Alfred Frizziola, 66, of Lacey, opened his mail and
found a check for $4,875. He’d won a sweepstakes he hadn’t even entered.

He never cashed the check.”I
knew something was fishy right away,” said the retired New York City
firefighter. “It was a scam, but I didn’t know how it worked.”

Here’s how the fraud works:

— The authentic looking check is
accompanied by a letter. In this case it was from the Universal Rewards
& Trust in Toronto that tells the recipient he or she has won
$125,000 in the DE-Lotto North American Sweepstakes Lottery on Shoppers.

— The enclosed check is for the “payment” of applicable government taxes.

— The winner is supposed to deposit the check, call a telephone number and then wire $2,875 to a “government tax agent.”

What happens is this: if you deposit the check, it will bounce days
later. But the $2,800 you wired north is gone with the wind.

“This scam has been around for years,” said Sgt. Cindy Boyd, of the
Senior Scam Task Force of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.