Palm Beach County woman falls victim to lottery scam

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida officials are warning consumers to be wary of a scam involving purported tax payments and lottery winnings.

State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater says the scheme is being run by a company calling itself "National Sweepstakes." The company has been contacting people claiming that they must make payments to the Internal Revenue Service in order to collect a supposed $1 million lottery prize.

One elderly woman in Palm Beach County who was contacted wrote checks totaling $9,500 to an address in Washington. Then an insurance employee who learned of the situation contacted the state Division of Consumer Services. State officials contacted the woman and helped her secure her remaining savings.

Atwater says legitimate lotteries do not ask for money up front to collect winnings.