So far, the crooks who carry out the con game — similar to one that has surfaced in San Diego — have been targeting Spanish speakers along East Valley Parkway, east of Ash Street, Lt. Eric Skaja said.
To commit the fraud, one of the perpetrators, generally a woman, approaches a victim and pretends to need assistance in cashing a winning lottery ticket. Soon an accomplice, usually male, approaches and offers to help, Skaja said.
The second swindler then telephones a third who poses as lottery official. That person backs up the story of the other two but claims that “taxes” and “fees” must be paid for the lottery money to be released.
The perpetrators convince the victim to withdraw a sizable amount of money from the bank and give it to them so they can make the supposed payments, with the promise that they will repay four to five times the amount of the investment.
After the victim gives the thieves money, they disappear, the lieutenant said.
Anyone approached by people making such claims was urged to immediately call police and try to provide detailed descriptions of the perpetrators and any vehicle they may be driving.