Legal News Line Dec. 7, 2012, 8:06pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and state Department of Social Services Commissioner Roderick Bremby cautioned consumers Friday about a mail scam involving bogus government checks and fraudulent sweepstakes awards.

Jepsen's office received multiple complaints about the scam, in which a Connecticut resident receives an award notification in an envelope stamped in another state that comes with a fraudulent check claiming to be from the Department of Social Services. The notification instructs residents to deposit the check and withdraw money to wire administrative fees or taxes on the winnings. The fake check bounces and the consumer is out the full amount of the money.

"While the check may look real, it is fraudulent and should not be deposited," Jepsen said. "This scheme is the latest variation on the check overpayment and money-wiring scams that have plagued consumers in recent years."

Jepsen's office is working with federal and state law enforcement officials to deal with the scam. Jepsen suggests that Connecticut residents not be fooled by fraudulent checks even if they look legitimate, know who they are dealing with by independently confirming the legitimacy of the check's issuer, know that government agencies in Connecticut do not send out unsolicited checks, refuse to accept checks if selling something over the internet or through a newspaper ad, not wire money back to anyone they don't know and know that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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