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'No More Minnesota Nice' aims to stop lottery scams

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Central Minnesota residents are being encouraged to be cautious about a variety of lottery and sweepstakes scams, as state authorities begin a new public service campaign to educate citizens about the growing fraud.

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According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the state has received more than 30,000 complaints about the scams since September 2007, and has begun a new public safety campaign and Web site. The campaign is the first model of a statewide coordinated, sustained fraud enforcement effort in the nation.

Fraudulent lottery and sweepstakes scams account for at least $30 million in losses each year in Minnesota, DPS officials say. The scams use email, phone calls and mailings to contact potential victims, and often request that recipients pay fees or send money before a payout can be made.

"These programs target seniors more than anyone else," Ingebrigtsen said. "They are often international and cross a variety of jurisdictions, so citizens themselves are the best primary guard against these criminals targeting them, their family members and friends."

The Department of Public Safety "No More Minnesota Nice" campaign will offer specialized contacts for Minnesotans seeking more information at the website www.mnscams.org, by email at report@MNScams.org or by phone at (866) 347-0911. More information, including examples of known scam tactics, is available at that Web site.

Ingebrigtsen can be reached at (651) 297-8063, by mail at 123 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155, or via email at sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn.

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