Lottery scam circulating in Sonora

Sonora-area residents have received phony lottery prize letters in the mail asking for bank account information as part of a scam, police said.

The letters claim to be from the International Promotion/Prize Award Department based in Madrid, Spain, and Lisboa, Portugal.

The letters also claim the recipient is one of 17 winners of the International Lottery, and the prize is anywhere from $500,000 to $900,000.

Sonora police said the scammers ask the recipients to keep the letter from "public notice" until the prize claim has been processed.

Attached to the letter is a "Lottery Payments Processing Form" asking for the recipient's bank name, account number, routing number and home address.

Sonora police said this information will provide the scammers access to your bank account, which could be emptied immediately.

The scam originates outside the United States and takes the money outside the country, so there is little local law enforcement can do for the victims, police said.

Police urged residents to destroy the letter and warned others not to release their personal information to any company without verifying its authenticity.