Sunday, August 19 , 2018, 1:22 am | Overcast with Haze 67º


Local News

Sheriff’s Department Warns of Lottery Scam Hitting Santa Barbara County

Elderly couple in the Santa Maria area receive a bogus check in the mail

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents to be aware of a scam involving a bogus lottery jackpot from an organization claiming to be the International Lotto Commission.

An elderly couple in the Santa Maria area recently received a letter in the mail claiming that the couple had won $5.5 million in “The Hispanic Lottery International Promotions Program.”

The letter, which features an address in Madrid, Spain, goes on to say that the couple must pay the claims agent 5 percent ($227,500) of the total winnings in order to receive the jackpot.

In many scams, the perpetrators will persuade the victim to cash a fraudulent check and send back all of or a percentage of the money. When the victim’s bank learns that the check is bogus (usually days later), the victim is out the money.

In this case, the North Santa Barbara County couple received a check for $5,500. The couple said a man called their home and aggressively pressured them to cash the check or he would “call the police.” Instead of cashing the check, the couple brought the check to the Sheriff’s Department.

If you or someone you know has received a fraudulent letter, click here to send an email to the Sheriff’s Department or call 805.681.4100.

Con artists often target the elderly who may become confused and fall victim to the scam. Click here for information about avoiding scams or how to stop elder abuse.

— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >