How would you like to get a notice in the mail stating you are the winner of $75,000? A Cherokee Village man received an envelope containing a notification that he was the winner of $75,000 payable in one lump sum.
The letter the man received asked why he had not claimed his winnings. The letter said his ticket with the stated serial number was drawn as the lucky winning numbers in the second category of the Lotto Super 7 contest held July 17.
The letter went on to tell him he was entitled to the winnings made payable to him, once he had paid the government assessed taxes. When the taxes were paid, the letter stated he would receive his money via Fed Ex or UPS,
Attached to the letter was a check for $3,985 which was said to be deducted from his winnings to help him pay the taxes due. The letter stated the taxable amount of the winnings was $3,000 and could be paid through Money Gram, found in any Wal-Mart store.
At the conclusion of the letter was the phone number and name of his assigned claim agent. The letter informed the man that he was to contact this agent as soon as he received the letter for further instructions.
Fortunately for this local resident, he contacted the Cherokee Village Police Department with the letter he had received and gave them a copy.
Many people who are sent letters stating they have won money get so excited they don't stop to think about how they have been chosen or where this money is coming from. This is what the people performing the scams count on.
The way these scams have been known to work in previous cases is the "winner" calls the number and is instructed to cash the attached check, get a money order for the assigned amount and send it to the address given. What usually happens is the "winner" who cashed the reward check is then held responsible by their bank when the prize check is returned NSF (insufficient funds) or account closed. The scam artists requires a certified check because they know the "winner" cannot take any action on a money order or certified check once it has been mailed, which is usually before the victim realizes they have been subject to fraud.
This particular scam check was for $3,985 and was from a company called Douds Company Inc. in Plumville, Pa. When contacted and asked what kind of business they were, they informed the caller that they were a furniture store. The caller told the woman on the line, who represented the furniture store, that they had received a check claiming they won something.
The representative of Douds Co. Inc. informed the caller that this is in fact a scam. The people who are pulling the scam somehow got hold of this company's checking account information for two different checking accounts and started duplicating these counterfeit checks. Douds Co. informed the caller that both accounts have been closed and they have received numerous calls concerning the same scam from all over the U.S.
When Areawide Media contacted FNBC to inform them of the fraud in the area the bank's security officer, Rita Newman, said she is happy to hear that the public is being informed of the scams. "There are many forms of scams and unfortunately, some hit here at home each year," Newman said. "It's not just in metropolitan areas, they (scams) also affect rural America just the same." Newman went on to say, "People need to use extreme care when they receive notices regarding unclaimed winnings, sweepstakes, guaranteed scholarships, lotteries, inheritance notices, counterfeit cashier's checks and so forth."
Newman cautioned, "Basically, use common sense and be extremely careful when giving out personal and financial information." She went on to advise, "If you're unsure about a company trying to get information and/or money from you, provide nothing until you know they are a legitimate business."