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Thayer residents report money scam

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Checks used in the scam.
THAYER -- Thayer Police Chief David Bailey said two Thayer residents brought in letters they received in the mail recently from companies claiming they had won a substantial amount of money.

Bailey said both people were concerned that the letters were not legitimate and he advised them to be suspicious of them.

Both letters had no return address on the envelopes and it was clear the Thayer addresses had been typed by hand.

One letter was from Charles Cooper Associate Attorneys and Counsellors at Law from Canada.

It was dated Aug. 15 and told the Thayer resident that an International Lottery Award Program had been held on July 25 and said their name was attached to a sweepstakes number and even gave a serial number. It said their lucky number had been drawn and they were the sweepstakes winner in the third category.

The letter said their total winnings was $420,000. It said these funds came from a total cash price of $2,940,000 shared among seven international winners.

One of the letters read: "Enclosed is a check of $4,700 which was deducted from your winnings. You will be using the sum of $2,920 to pay for the processing fee on your big winning. You must cash the check at your bank or in any check cashing place and send the fee of $2,920 immediately to your assigned claims agent Susan Smith in Ottawa, Canada, using Moneygram or Western Union transfer service."

The SMN called the office of Charles Cooper in Canada. A lady answered the phone and said Mr. Cooper was not in the office at the time, but she would give him our number and he would return our call. He never did.

The other letter was from Infosys Systems, also from Canada. It said the Thayer resident was one of 20 winners of a multi-national sweepstakes. It was dated Aug. 11 and gave a claim number. The letter said the Thayer resident was entitled to $180,000 which would be their total prize money. It said all participants were selected through a random computer ballot system drawn from over 500,000 names.

"To expediate the process enclosed is a check of $4,250, which has been deducted from your winning. You will be using $2,750 from this check to pay for the applicable surcharges/government tax due on your winning. You will receive the balance of $175,750 on payment of the government tax through Fedex. Warning: This letter is private and confidential. Third party claims will lead to the cancellation of the prize. Do not give anybody this letter or your claim number, except to the staff Infosys Systems," the letter said.

At the bottom of the letter it read: "Disclaimer: Infosys Systems is merely the payment disbursement company and we do not have any further responsibility other than producing the winnings according to the organizers guidelines."

The SMN also called Infosys Systems and our calls were never answered.

Bailey said area residents who have concerns about receiving such information and checks should aways doubled check or turn them over to their law enforcement authorities.

Jim Mills with Mammoth Spring Bank said recently he has seen several of these type of check scams. "The first clue that this is a scam is if they ask you to send money back, you know you have not won anything," he said.

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