Hawaiʻi Island police are alerting the public about apparent lottery scams that have resurfaced.

A Hilo resident received a letter from the “International Lotto Commission,” which purported to originate from Madrid, Spain. It claimed the recipient had won more than $4.5 million in a lottery held by the “The World Lottery.”

The letter and variations of it request that in order for the winner to receive payment, either a processing fee must be sent to a “security company” in Spain or the winner should contact the lottery agent and provide financial account information so the funds can be deposited.

Similar scams proliferate via the internet, through emails, and on social networking sites and have become a more effective attempt by criminals in victimizing unwary individuals because of their far-reaching impact.

“While people are becoming more aware of these scams and are more vigilant in prevention from becoming a victim, there are those unsuspecting individuals who still fall prey to these scams,” said Lieutenant Gregory Esteban from the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section. “If anyone receives an unsolicited letter or email that promises them a financial award in exchange for disclosing personal financial information, do not send any money or respond.” Instead, intended victims should call the Police Department non-emergency line at 935-3311.