SUNBURY - Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini announced today that his office has been provided with a new version of the lottery scam.

In this mailing, the individual received a letter indicating it was from the "Heritage Financial Group" stating the individual had won a large sum of money in the "International Shoppers Lotto Powerball." Rosini noted that no such lotto exists.

A check in the amount of $3,875 was enclosed with the letter which is stated to be for paying the "applicable government taxes." The recipient is requested to call and is then instructed to send a portion of the check amount to the "government agent" to cover the taxes.

In reality, the check, when deposited, will be returned with no account from the listed bank and the money withdrawn by the victim will be their responsibility to repay. They will be stuck with repaying the bank, not receiving their supposed winnings.

Rosini cautioned everyone, especially senior citizens who have been the target of this and other mailings, to be wary of any correspondence indicating they have won a lottery.

"If you didn't buy a ticket and don't have it in your possession, you can't win any lottery - especially one that does not exist," Rosini said.

The district attorney said that scam artists prey on senior citizens and have been successful because people believe they have won something. The scam artists have the age-old desire, Rosini said, to get something for nothing that they use to rip off seniors.

"I urge all senior citizens and anyone who receives this type of mailing to turn it over to their local police department," Rosini said. "No one should send out any money based on a check they receive in the mail from a company they have not dealt with in the past to claim a lottery prize for which they never bought a ticket."

Rosini said if someone thinks they have a valid check, take the check to the bank and let them determine if it is valid before withdrawing any money and sending it to an unknown party.

"The depositor may receive a return check fee, but that is better than losing out on more than $1,000," Rosini said.