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A Clever Lottery Scan and How to Avoid It

A part-time college economics & finance instructor who began his career in banking, Chuck frequently writes on money & economics online.

If it is Too Good to be True, It Probably Is!

A number of years ago I attended a math workshop where one of the presenters explained probability theory by demonstrating that the probability of winning the jackpot in the Arizona Lottery by purchasing a ticket were almost the same as the odds of winning without buying a ticket.

In other words, the odds of a person winning the lottery by finding a ticket on the sidewalk are just slightly less than are the chances of winning by purchasing a ticket.

Well, last week, I won the lottery without ever entering.

No, it wasn't the jackpot or even any of the lesser prizes in the Arizona lottery. And, no, it wasn't an email informing me that I had won a lottery and asking for my bank account and Social Security numbers so they could deposit the winnings to my bank account.


Caveat Emptor!

This was a letter delivered in a plain window envelope with a return address to a post office box in Mexico, Missouri on the back flap.

It was addressed to me by name and, when I opened it, a check, made payable to me in the amount of $2,950, fell out.

At first I assumed that it was a solicitation for a mortgage refinance and the check a gimmick that could only be used for some of the fees. However, it was a real check from a real bank with no strings attached – I could deposit it and spend the money as soon as the check cleared.

This was obviously too good to be true – and it was.

The letterhead on the accompanying letter identified the lottery sponsors in big letters as:




Here I had won a lottery sponsored by Party Bingo Lottery Inc. which is located on Gibraltar (the large rock island at the west end of the Mediterranean Sea).

But the check they sent was from a company called Gold Crest Distributing, LLC which is located in an out of the way burg of 13,000 residents in northeastern Missouri. The guys behind this were obviously keeping a very low profile.

Reading on, it got more interesting. In the second paragraph I learned that my name was selected by computer from a world-wide data base belonging to readers digest publishers clearing house, computer games sweepstakes.

Wow! The Reader's Digest Sweepstakes, which I hadn't heard from in years, let alone entered, and Publishers Clearing House who also gave up mailing me years ago have now joined forces and the new management doesn't know that proper names (like a company name) should be capitalized!

The third paragraph informed me, in bold print, that I must immediately deposit the enclosed $2,950.00 check to my bank account in order to pay the States Lottery and Gaming Commission Agency.

The sentence continued (these guys apparently don't know the difference between a paragraph and a sentence as each paragraph consists of a single run on sentence) by informing me first, that the $2,950 fee had to be paid to this gaming commission before my winnings could be released.

Second, that they would be deducting a 7% handling charge of $3643.50. After the payment to the Gaming Commission and the handling charge my net winnings would be $48,406.50.

While their grammar skills left much to be desired, their math worked out to the penny.

The third paragraph obviously had all kinds of red flags, the first being who is the States Lottery and Gaming Commission Agency?

Under the U.S. and Canadian federal systems, the U.S. has 50 states and Canada 10 provinces each with their own government and each having authority to regulate and tax lotteries and other types of gambling within their borders.

In these states and provinces which allow gambling there is an entity known as the Lottery and Gaming Commission, Lottery and Gaming Agency or some similar name. However all of them include their state or province name, such as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission and none have a name that ends with Commission Agency - they are usually either a commission or an agency, but not both.

The real question was, how was this supposed States Lottery and Gaming Commission Agency going to get their money by my depositing of the enclosed check to MY bank account?

Was I then to turn around and write a check and mail it to them for the $2,950? If that was the case, would it not be easier to simply endorse the check to them rather than depositing it and writing a new one?

Further, whenever possible, governments prefer to deal with paying agencies rather than with individuals which is why the IRS insists that our employers over calculate what we will owe on income taxes and send it to the IRS directly rather than giving us our full pay and having us pay the government ourselves.

Should I Cash this and Not Pay the Lottery and Gaming Commission Agency?


It is much easier and cheaper to enforce the tax law on thousands of businesses rather than millions of people.

Therefore, why wasn't this Party Bingo outfit sending the tax money directly to the authorities rather than to me? I couldn't be because they didn't know where to send it as their letter implied that they would not release my winnings to me until they had verification that the money was paid.

I knew it was a scam and was not about to deposit the check, despite pleas from my 17 year old son to do so (probably hoping that I would share part of my good fortune with him), as I was certain that it would bounce and I would end up paying $25 or more in bank service charges for depositing a bad check.

I Knew it Was a Scam But Wanted to Understand How it Worked

But I couldn't figure out how the scamers would benefit from my paying a service charge to may bank. Was it possible for me to turn the tables on them by depositing the check and then not make the telephone call to 1-902-412-8972 for further instructions as instructed in the next paragraph.

Sure, I would forfeit the the remaining $48,406.50, which was obviously bogus, but I would still be $2,950 richer.

However, that was too easy, and I was certain that these fellows were not about to risk thousands of their own money by sending out hundreds of $2950 checks in hopes that everyone would respond as planned.

I received the check on the 16th and had until Friday the 19th (according to the letter) to deposit it – this too, was a red flag as the pressure to hurry meant that they were in a hurry to wrap up the operation and flee with their money before the law caught up with them.

The Assistant Bank Manager Recognized the Scam Instantly

On Friday I went to the bank on other business and, while there, asked the teller what could happen if I deposited check, adding that I knew it was a scam and was just trying to figure out how it worked.

She laughed and told me to see the Assistant Manager who had a lot of experience with these lotteries. As soon as she saw the letterhead, the Assistant Manager laughed and said “so you got one of these too!”

Obviously half of Tucson had won this lottery.

The Assistant Bank Manager Explained How the Scam Works

The Assistant Manager then explained how the scam worked.

Gold Crest Distributing, LLC is a legitimate company in Mexico, Missouri. I already knew that having looked them up on the Internet and discovering they had no connection to lotteries. Instead, they were a company that manufactured novelties for companies to give away at trade shows.

The characters behind the lottery had stolen the checks, most likely by obtaining one of the company's blank checks and then reproducing fakes with their computer and printer.

When people received and deposited these checks the check would clear because the company would have enough money to cover them along with their other operations in the near term. Once a check cleared the money would be available for the depositing individual to withdraw.

Those running the scam a month at the most between the time the checks began clearing and the accounting department at Gold Crest received their bank statement and noticed the series of check for $2,950 that the company hadn't written.

This was why it was so important for the winners to deposit the checks immediately and then call the telephone number in the letter for further instructions. When the winners made the phone call they would be instructed to withdraw the $2,950 in CASH and then take it to Western Union and send it to the States Lottery and Gaming Commission Agency or other dummy corporation in Gibraltar.

An agent for the dummy corporation would pick up the cash from Western Union and before the end of the month the operation would be wrapped up and the money probably moved again via Western Union or other means to some place beyond the reach of the governments of the areas where the scam took place.

Once the fraud was discovered it would be reported to Gold Crest's bank which would then inform the banks which had cashed the checks that they were forgeries. These banks would then inform their customers that the checks they had deposited were a fraud and to repay the $2,950 plus service charges for depositing a bad check.

Victims Who Deposit the Checks Will Have to Repay the $2,950 Plus Fees to the Bank

Schemes like this are frauds and the fraud will be reported. Once the target company, whose checks were forged, its bank will move to get the money back from the banks which cashed the checks and those banks will go after the customers who presented the checks for deposit.

BE WARNED that, in addition to having to repay the full amount of the check plus bank service charges for depositing a check that is returned to the bank, you can face criminal prosecution if you receive and deposit one of these checks KNOWING that it is a fraudulent check.

In the comments below some writers have indicated that they considered or are considering depositing such checks and using the money to solve a short term financial problem while knowing that the check is stolen.

Victims Will Also Have to Explain to the FBI Why They Participated in this Fraud

This is ILLEGAL and will get you in trouble with both Federal and local authorities (bank deposits are insured by the FDIC - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - which is an agency of the Federal Government and the FBI investigates crimes involving banks).

Despite their high rates, you would be better off utilizing a Pay Day Loan company for short term cash problems rather than depositing one of these checks.

While technology was obviously used in the operation for things like printing the checks and moving the money, the scam itself was not tied to the Internet.

However, like similar Internet scams, this was just a variation of the age old bait and switch operations where scamers dangle something enticing in front of their marks, get the marks to pay and then skip town before the mark discovers that the promised object never existed.

Why Scammers Always Win and Their Marks Always Lose

These scams work because the victims are blinded by the prospects of something for nothing while, at the same time, reassured by the apparent legitimacy of the operation.

Greed and gullibility are the tools of the scamers trade as they have been for centuries. Since the days of ancient Rome we have had the saying Caveat Emptor! which translates into English as Buyer Beware!

While never a legal concept, it has always been a bit of folk wisdom that has saved those who followed the advice billions of dollars over the millenia while those who have ignored it have probably lost a greater amount in that time.

Other useful sayings to ponder when encountering these too good to be true opportunities include:

“There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

See my Hub entitled Money Laundering Jobs Aplenty for information on a similar scam that dupes people into accepting jobs as Financial Agents, or some similar title, from foreign based criminals to assist the criminals in moving stolen money from countries like the U.S., Canada, Australia, Western Europe, etc. to East European or Asian countries where the criminals operate from.

Text of Letter

Below is the text of the letter I received. I have attempted to copy the run on sentences, odd wording and other errors as they appeared in the letter. If you read it carefully, it is actually quite humorous. You can see the general layout of the original letter in the digital image above. Enjoy.





JANUARY 3RD, 2007.

Chuck Nugent

(My address)

Tucson AZ


After numerous attempts to reach you by phone have failed, we are pleased to inform you through this letter that our network system shows you as the lucky winner of unclaimed prize money in the amount of $ 55,000 USD. The system indicates that you were selected as a winner for the 2007 Holiday season sweepstakes draws

All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from readers digest publishers clearing house, computers games, sweepstakes data base, are from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, North and South America, South Africa and Asia, as this is our International Promotions Program, which is conducted monthly. CONGRATULATIONS!

Enclosed is a check of $2950.00 USD, {TWO THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS} payable to you and must be deposited into your bank account immediately to pay for your registration with the States Lottery and Gaming Commission Agency, which must be paid before we can release your balance in the amount of $48406.50 excluding 7% handling charges in the amount of $3643.50 deducted from your total winnings.

Your claim number is ELM-CLMS-2007-00134. We ask that you keep your Claim number confidential secured till your claim has been properly processed and funds remitted to you as this is a part of our security protocol to avoid any DOUBLE CLAIMS.

Code of conduct, ethics and underage gambling and responsible gaming: We see gambling as a legitimate form of entertainment that is enjoyed by millions of adult worldwide, however we also realize that there may be players who are underage or let gambling assume to a large role in their life. As a result we are very conscious to advertise and operate responsibly so as to protect and assist problem gamblers to identify their addiction and seek counseling

ALL prize money must be claimed not later than the 19th of JANUARY 2007 at which any unclaimed funds shall be forfeited.

Please call your North America claim agent MARIA WILLIAMS at 1 902 412 8972 upon receipt of this notification for further instructions.

We wish you and your family all the best for a safe and happy new year.

Yours Sincerely,

Yvonne Normand Cloven Cequine

© 2007 Chuck Nugent


Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on January 16, 2015:

Chelsa - Sorry to hear about your loss. It sounds like they got your name and telephone number from your entry. If you had entered this lottery and then received a call saying you had won what did they say that caused you to send them money? As far as getting your money back I doubt that you will be able to but you should call the police to report this and give them the address where you sent the money. Also, if you sent them a check or money order there might still be time to contact your bank or the seller of the money order and put a stop payment on it which could prevent them from getting the money and you losing it. If you paid by credit card over the phone you should contact your credit card company to try and get the money back (you might also want to ask for a new card with a different number in case they try to make additional charges with your credit card number.

Good luck in trying to resolve this and don't send them any more money.

Chelsea on January 15, 2015:

I'm need of your help now. I'm being scammed as we speak.i received a call saying I won the lottery millionaire sweepstakes, which I entered. Once I heard they news I was kind of nervous n scared,like is this for real so I easily was entertain n went along we with it. I've sent them 200.00 today. Tomorrow they will be calling for more money. I'm not that crazy now that I've realize it's a scam. How do I get my 200.00 back. AND PUT A STOP TO THESE PEOPLE. I WISH I WOULD OF READ THESE STORIES BEFORE TODAY. in need of your help

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on April 27, 2013:

Reg Zooka - thanks for your comment and I am glad you enjoyed this Hub.

As to my reference sites, the outside input I had on this was the assistant manager at the local branch of Chase Bank where I had a checking account at the time. I knew it was a fraud from the start. Upon reading the letter three red flags immediately popped into mind. First, I supposedly won a lottery that I hadn't entered and it was a foreign one paying the proceeds in U.S. dollars to boot - winning this was possible but not very probable. Second, the grammar in the letter indicated that the writer was not familiar with formal business English despite the company being headquartered in the British European territory of Gibraltar. Third, why was a European corporation using a rural Missouri bank and not simply sending the tax due directly to the IRS instead of something called "The States Lottery and Gaming Agency".

The assistant branch manager explained that the promise of the bigger payout and the need to pay taxes on the winnings was intended to distract people from the fact that it was a forged check cashing scam and not a more common lottery scam which the object was to obtain a target's banking information for the purpose of looting their bank account.

Once the assistant branch manager explained how the scam worked I understood the logic and logistics behind the scam from my previous experience in banking. A few Google searches regarding the novelty company whose name was on the checks, the bank on which the checks were drawn and the 900 phone number (which was a temporary number registered to an entity in Newfoundland, Canada and which had already been canceled and the entity's office closed after a month in operation) gave me further insight into how this operation worked.

Finally, as a periodic user of Western Union to send money to my wife's family in Europe for Christmas and birthdays I knew how easy this process was. From banking I also know that taking or sending $10,000 or more in cash outside the United States is illegal unless the transaction is registered. By sending thousands of people checks for $2,950 and having them cash the checks and send the money to an agent overseas gets around the $10,000 or more registration requirement while still bringing in potentially thousands of dollars or more quickly and then disappearing with the money before being discovered.

By explaining the scam I hoped to help educate readers about how the scam worked and thus know to avoid it. However, free money is difficult to turn down and many people are still victimized by this lure of something for nothing which has been going on probably since pre-historic times..

webwatcher on April 26, 2013:

Thanks a ton for your superb content. Do you happen to also have your reference sites? Reg Zooka

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on December 29, 2012:

Tony - Thanks for visiting and for your comment.

As I pointed out in the text above, what these scamers are doing is illegal. But it is both difficult to catch them and even more difficult to get the money back for those who have been duped even when scamers are caught and arrested.

I once read a review of a book that a history of scams in America from colonial days to the present. The review's author concluded with two observations. The first was how similar the scams were over the 300 years or so covered in the book.

The second was the observation was that the main constant in these scams was the greed and recklessness of the victims. People who were normally cautious with their money and wouldn't consider investing a portion of their savings in the stock market because of the potential risk, thought nothing of mortgaging their home and taking the proceeds along with their life savings and turning it over to a scamer with the expectation they would make a quick million dollars or so within the next week or two.

You say "We should have a plan to stop foreign scamers..." and you are correct except the "We" in question has to refer to us as individuals making our own decisions and not society as a whole or the government which already have plenty of laws against this type of crime.

We, as individuals have to take responsibility and each develop our own plans to protect against scamers. The first step in the plan is to use our heads, rather than emotion when we are the target of the scam. In the Hub above I describe how I knew as soon as I glanced at the letter I knew it was a scam. How could I win a lottery that I had not only never heard of but also had never entered? I thought I might be able to turn the tables by cashing the check and simply keeping the money rather than following the instructions to forward it for the big prize.

But since it was obviously a scam, I could not see the scamer being dumb enough (or have enough money) to send $2,950 checks to hundreds of people believing that all were dumb and greedy enough to fall for the scam. The key to a scam like this is to target thousands in hopes of a quick five or ten percent response that will make the effort worth while and still have time to disappear before the police can be alerted and act.

As I explained in the Hub, there were other clues besides the fact that I had won a lottery that I had neither heard of nor entered. The wording of the letter was very unprofessional and contained numerous grammar errors. The check itself, while it looked real (and actually was a real, albeit forged) check. Also, why would a European lottery firm contract with a small Missouri producer of party favors to send out its checks?

As I describe in the Hub there were many other things about the whole deal that didn't smell right even before I took time to investigate this. And I investigated it out of a curiosity to see how it worked as I had already concluded that it was not a legitimate offer.

The best protection against becoming a victim of scams is to remember the ancient Latin term "Caveat Emptor" which translates "Buyer Beware". And if that isn't enough there is another truism of slightly more recent vintage and that is "If something seems too good to be true, it probably is". Ponder those two things for a while before responding to a scam offer and you will probably not become a victim.

tony on December 28, 2012:

All the foreign scamers are targeting us. We should have a plan to stop foreign scamers to take advantage of us.

myownlife from london on July 24, 2012:

Couple of times in the past, It made me think alot and tried to contact on given contact no. some numbers were hotel real no and some were personal mobile but was a bit concious that I shouldn't share my personal details including bank ac but later knew it was spam, fraud mails. And sometimes I used to get emails saying the person was beneficiary of the huge property so needed some money for legal procedure ...I believe a lot of people must have been victim .

God bless everyone.

shivani on January 01, 2012:

try better paragraphs

hristina on December 05, 2011:

I got a letter today claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House, saying I won $2,000,000. Then I saw they wanted $11 for some "mandatory fee" to receive my money.. too bad.. for 5 minutes, I was a millionaire.

jon on October 27, 2011:

Thank you for the information.

moneymarketing on August 05, 2011:

I've won the lottery, but were secondary prizes, I still hope to win the jackpot.

I recently Hub on statistics and probabilities that have helped me greatly improve my chances of winning the lottery, won numerous awards!

Kathy, Malaysia on July 07, 2011:

I received a letter today from Reader's Digest Malaysia (Finance Department) with affiliation with EON Bank inviting me to join a Super Contest Funds on Deposit. In my heart, i knew this was a scam but just didn't understand how it works. Now i get the picture. Thanx alot, Chuck for enlightening me! I know what to do the next time...

FAY MCCHRISTIAN on June 14, 2011:


anonymous on March 29, 2011:

Gibraltar is not an island.

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on January 12, 2011:

whatever - Thanks for visiting and for your comment.

As to the math, I believe that by buying a lottery ticket I am guaranteed at least 1 out of x chances of winning while relying on someone losing their ticket and me finding it decreases my odds of winning a particular lottery somewhat. However, over the course of a lifetime, the odds of finding a winning ticket are probably about the same as buying a winning ticket.

As to wasting my time researching this, I don't consider this a waste of time as I not only got a good Hub out of it (for which I have earned more than the price of a state lottery ticket) but, as you can see from the comments above, have helped a number of people avoid this scam.

I knew as soon as I read the letter that this was a scam. What I didn't know was how the scam worked given that I had what looked like a perfectly legitimate check made payable to me, drawn on a real bank (I verified that on the Internet) and from the account of a real company (I also verified the existence of the company).

Even though it was obviously a scam, it appeared that one could outwit the scammers by cashing the check and keeping the money rather than sending it to them to pay the taxes as the letter requested. I knew there had to be a catch and, rather than simply shredding the letter and check, decided to investigate further. Again, if you read the comments above you will see that a number of people besides me thought they could do the same thing, namely keep the money and bypass the supposed winnings (and some actually did this before reading the Hub).

Shortly after publishing this Hub I noticed that the Credit Union where I also have an account, put up signs at each teller window warning people about this scam and, four years later, those signs are still up, which tells me that this type of scam is still going on and must be profitable for the scammers.

Oh, as to my paying for the workshop where the leader (a math professor who taught statistics) made the comment about one's chances of winning the lottery being almost the same whether one purchased a ticket or not, I did pay for it as that particular workshop was a part of a series of presentations in a professional development course I took and which led to advancement and a double digit increase in income. This lottery example was simply a very good attention getter that the presenter used to get the workshop going.

whatever on January 11, 2011:

first of all, your chances of winning the lottery are not less by finding a random ticket on the ground rather than buying one. whether or not you pay for a ticket, you have 1 out of x number of chances. having a ticket grants you 1:x. i hope you didn't pay to attend this math workshop. if you did, a lottery scam is the least of your worries.

secondly, did you really just waste however long it took you to write this article about some idiotic lotto scam? A hundred million people get them every day. if people don't realize they are scams, then they deserve to lose their money without you warning them. honestly, do you really think someone (even a legitimate gambling corporation) would just send you a cheque in the mail?

you shouldn't have to be told to investigate these things. you should already know.

Jtdiva on November 26, 2010:

Who can I get to investigate if this is a scam?

Victoria on October 12, 2010:

I received one of theses two years ago. I went to the bank with it and the put in my account to see if it would clear. It never did then my bank closed my account. I never spent any of the money but my bank thought it was suspicious behaviour. Also sent my information to other banks. It's a bounk of B S. I agree if you get one DO NOT CASH IT!!!!

I was really young and dumb when this happened. lol

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on May 16, 2010:

Jessica Noel - if you entered the sweepstakes and a check payable to you was not included with the letter this is probably legitimate.

Also, the fact that they will be sending you two checks sounds like the larger one will be made payable to you and the other one to the government tax authorities. If the instructions are to send the second check to a government income tax office (verify the address) this would be another indication that you are dealing with a legitimate lottery.

If you notice in both my Hub and in all the comments from people who have been targets of these scams, you get a letter and a check between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars payable to you with instructions to cash that check and then send the cash via Western Union to an entity in Eastern Europe. This is the main tip off as most Western governments not only accept checks for payment of taxes but also have offices within the country. I have never heard of Western tax authorities outsourcing the collection of tax payments to entities outside the country.

Finally, in addition to you lawyer, show the checks to the manager at your local bank and that person can probably tell from looking at the check if it is a scam or not. I knew the check that I received was a scam (I had never heard of, let alone entered, the lottery in question) but couldn't figure out how the scam worked. The bank manager took one look at the check, smiled and said "... another one of these". When I asked how the scam worked she immediately explained as she apparently had had a lot of experience explaining to customers why they had to reimburse the bank for these checks after the customers had cashed them, sent the cash to the scammers via Western Union and the check had now been returned to the bank by the real owner of the account it was written on and saying it had been stolen and forged.

Double check, but you are the first to comment here who appears to have actually entered and won a legitimate lottery. If that is the case enjoy your winnings.

Jessica Noel on May 10, 2010:

Okay, I received a letter in the mail saying I had won 50,000 from sun trust bank which I had entered a sweepstakes off the internet, which I really did enter. So I figured it's a scam but I called the number anyway, they told me that I had won, that I would receive two checks in the mail. They said that I would have to pay 10% taxes on the check to the governemt which would be around 50,000 but that the taxes would be already taken out of my first check. So I asked the guy if this was a hoax you know if the checks would really be real and clear in my bank, and he said that this was not a scam. I told him that I was going to first give the letter to my lawyer and have him investigate and see if everything was giong to go through right and he said that I could do whatever I wanted with the check when I received it whether that was giving it to my lawyer or throwing it in the trash, he said that I could call him the day I received the check and he would talk to my lawyer and give him all the information he would need and that he would even talk to the bank..what do you think chuck, I am supposed to get the check this week.

whoever on April 10, 2010:

Read the letter from Mr Alak Thong Siam City Bank.

Anybody can tell me who is Victor Frank Harrison?

> "Congratulations !!!

We have issued the draft/cheque of your winning Prize US$ 1,000,000.00 ( One million united state dollars). It is ready for dispatch to your house address.

Based on the value of draft/cheque, it is classified that it must be insured, before it can be dispatch to you. Haven now approved you as the rightful receiver of the winning cheque, to have the cheque send to you, all you have to do is to pay for the insurance/courier charges for shipment down to your address.

We Believe the promotion company must have made you to understand that neither cent nor penny is deductible from any winners prize fund, as all winners prizes has been process and prepared accurately and can not be deducted to avoid misappropriation of funds.

We have inquired for the cheque insurance/shipment through international express courier, it costs US$ 420 ( Four hundred and twenty dollars only).

You are required to send this amount US$ 420 only via western union money transfer, for an immediate insurance/shipment of the cheque down to your house address.

The payment should be made on this Bank officer name which is given below.

Name: Victor Frank Harrison

Address: 1101 New Petchburi Road Bangkok Thailand.

Position: Bank Officer.

Yours Sincerely,

Mr Alak Thong

Management Siam City Bank"

disbelief on April 09, 2010:


required to contact the person in Siam City Bank in Thiland

bob wallace on February 16, 2010:

just won 196,000 dlrs. ya im sure all i have to do is deposit the 4,362 dlrs after speaking with a certain person how do i report this and get these %^$#^%&& put in prison.

woka on February 03, 2010:

My dad just got one of the Reader's Digest / Wachovia / Cracker Barrel scam letters.

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on January 30, 2010:

hurry - thanks for sharing your experience.

The problem with trying to catch these people is that they operate from multiple locations and change locations quickly.

In my experience that I related in the Hub above, the check was stolen from a company in a small town in Missouri, the phone number I was told to call was in Nova Scotia and the letter was mailed from someplace else. This meant that the crooks behind this were operating outside of the jurisdictions of the people they were scamming which made it difficult for law enforcement in those areas to do much. The U.S. Postal Service and FBI as well a Canadian federal authorities had jurisdiction but it takes time from local complaints to filter up to them and given the short time that the crooks stay in one place this doesn't leave much time to try to track them down.

While it is always good to report receipt of such materials to the local post office and fraud unit of local law enforcement, the best way to stop such scams is to use common sense and not respond to their offers.

As I said in the Hub, Milton Friedman's famous dictum "There is no such thing as a Free Lunch" applies to scams like this as well as freebies promised by politicians.

Common sense told me that the odds of winning a lottery that I didn't enter were near zero. This coupled with the spelling and grammar errors in the letter accompanying the check I received, the fact that the check was not from the Lottery organization itself but a totally different company set off warning bells in my head. This plus the fact that they could have simply sent me a form to return authorizing them to pay the supposed taxes on the winnings rather than sending me the money and asking me to cash it and send the money back via Western Union. Also, why did I have to use Western Union when I could have written a check from the checking account I was supposed to have deposited their check into as this would have saved the rather steep Western Union fees?

These scams are designed to play on people's greed - the desire to get something for nothing, and they are very successful which is why, despite all of the publicity surrounding them, they still flourish.

hurry on January 28, 2010:

I got a check like that in Ar called the number to; the man said the check would clear just take it to your bank or any bank, but if it's not yours they might charge you a few dollars to cash it. it was not a lotto or any thing like that. it was one of those mystery shopper things the check was for 2500.00 and after you cash it. you have to use western union and see if they are doing their jobs right they are going to ask you some things , if you send over a certain amount.[ by law or something ,and you get to keep 100.00 to shop at any store you like and make a report out on where ever you shop the thing was is the check was on a company that is real and some one stoled the check from them and made copyies and they are try to rip that company off because their name is on the check and who ever stoled these checks from the company had to have worked there one time or nother. don't you think? what i did was took it to what ever company it was bank and tuned the man in. but there fraud dept is way over in Tulsa,Ok somewhere.the company's bank owns one here in AR. so i took it there and that nice teller lady faxed it to the fraud tulsa these banks are investagateing these people that are doing this and they will be caught. i really think they are trying to rip that company off. like trying to get the company's bank to stand good for it or something. and then charge the company. just because their name is on the fake checks. I really believe it some one who used to work for that company and old empoylee or someone that got fired . iwould start looking that way frist.but some people are so poor the banks are going to try and clear the check before they cash them. and don't forget check 21 law, I took copies of the letter he sent with the check to because i wanted to call him back and call him a damb lier but they said not to tip him off so may be they could trace the number or something cause it had his phone # on it.some one keeps calling my house and hanging up wonder if it's him ???if he is reading this, next time dude send cash [dumb ass ]I shouldn't make fun of this he is a bad man

x action bob x on January 10, 2010:

I just received my check tonight. Pretty much the same deal. Mahard Egg Company in Prosper TX is on the check, and it's in the amount of 2,935.00 Although it does appear to be a real check, actually, I'm sure it is (just stolen). I plan to call the company that these checks come from tomorrow and let them know their account information has been compromised, and then turning the check and envelope over to the bank/or local law enforcement. Hopefully I can help any "gullable" people in my town avoid this crazy scam. Thanks for the site, good info here!

x Action Bob x

Naresh on October 04, 2009:

Chuck - Thanks a lot. No ways of me falling into this trap.

Even I have recd below Email -


42 Park Avenue,

Melbourne, Worchester,

United Kingdom.

(Customer Services).


Congratulations. We happily inform you that your winning prize of $1 500 000

(one million five hundred thousand U.S DOLLARS) has been endorsed with your personal informations on a certified cheque by the correspondent Bank of YAHOO/MSN ONLINE LOTTERY and a British fund release document issued with your informations from the British economic/financial regulation department.

Please find below our affiliate Bank information, you are expected to contact them immediately you receive this email, your winning Certified Cheque and British Fund release document and a YAHOO/MSN ONLINE LOTTERY winning certificate is been deposited in the custody of our affiliate Bank with the following Transfer Code .

Do not forget to send your Transfer Code in your mail correspondence with the Bank so they can refer to your Winning Cheque file immediately.



Your Winning prize will be remitted into your bank account within the next 3 working days in your bank account in your country.

Please contact the Standard Inland Bank Plc via E-mail for transfer of your funds with their contact details below:



Contact the bank and make a transfer schedule with them to enable them transfer your funds into your account without any delay. Please, always update me with your day to day activities with the Standard Inland Bank Plc.

Mr. Carson Cole


Head Winning Claims Dept.

Tele phone No: +44-704-571-4756

Tammy on September 28, 2009:

I received my check & letter while we were in San Antonio, TX. My first thought was - Great, now the internet mail scams have migrated to the mail. I looked up the company name from the check and called that company. They were aware that the bank account had been infiltrated and had an open investigation with the authorities. All she needed was a fax of the envelope to add to the investigation. She thanked me for calling, I faxed the envelope and shredded the entire thing. That was about 5 years ago when Chuck started this post.

I'm in Georgia now and a couple of weeks ago I received a very professional looking fancy little letter stating - we've been trying to reach you about your lottery entry. I didn't pay it much mind and just put it in the shredder. Had I entered a lottery, they wouldn't be having a hard time "trying to reach" me in regards to my entry.

LoL on September 12, 2009:

Well if you are dumb enough to fall for it then I guess you deserve it.

Why does everyone keep asking, "What should I do?" Well common sense would tell me to take it to my bank and/or local law enforcement for investigation.

Not trying to bash anyone but I mean come on use your heads!!

James Joyce on August 16, 2009:

What a story!! Thanks for sharing.

James Joyce

Lottery Trend

roy o. on August 02, 2009:

I got a letter from: the Anti-Terrorist and International Fraud Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, informing me that there is $800,000 deposited at Bank of America, for me. The "FBI" tells me that the transaction is safe and 100% risk free!The "FBI" is "authorizing" me to send Mr. Samuel Oliver a check for, $200.00. I get "scams" similar to this each week but this is the best one so far! It almost convinces me to send the $200.00. Please, beware.

Oliver a $200.00 transaction fee

Kmadhav from New delhi on June 13, 2009:

one thing sure that i will learn lots of thing about lottery and scams from your hub and discussion.........I will stay from these things .....

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on May 18, 2009:

many Lottery scam send it through email. we must be aware and check more information by browsing.

Kim on May 15, 2009:

I just received a check from A.M. Wholesale Fish Co., Inc. out of Dallas TX. THANK YOU for posting this. I would have been scammed. I only wish I knew who to notify.

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on April 29, 2009:

Kp - thanks for the comment. This scam is continuing because it remains a great money maker for the scammers. So long as people keep falling for the scam, scammers will keep using it.

Look at how long the Nigerian Bank account scam (the email from the sender who claims to have access to an abandoned bank account with millions of dollars which they cannot access without a foreign partner and if the recipient will just reply to the email with their bank account number the scammer will share the millions with him or her. This has been around so long that it is a joke but, despite all the publicity, people still fall for it which is why it continues.

kp on April 29, 2009:

This scam appears to still be continuing. I received a check for $2,850 from Empire Financial, a division of Empire Wholesale Lumber Co. Thanks for your article pointing out this scam.

mr.jaydude on April 16, 2009:

okay so im really confused today i received in the mail an evelop from canada first of all it has no return address wtfh is this? when i opened it up the letterhead says MAPLE diamond jackpot-lotto,pch,readers&golf digest,sweepstakes&internet casnios. has a pobox on it from ottawa,on when i looked up the area code doesn't even come up to that city also when i look up that zip dont come up as that either hmmmmm.anyway they say i won 28,000 they say i have to deposit the check they sent me for 950 into my account and call them in 48hrs they say the check is to pay for tax,processing,and registration fees associated with my says that fees must be paid through a certified accountant based in the us b4 they can release the remaining balance after i call i can have the check mailed anywhere i want.. hmmm again!!! but one other thing thats truly weird the check is totally different from what i saw on ur postings its got all the info on it. void after 90 days check date its drawn from a bank in ga. rbc centura morrow ga. but the truly messed up thing is that number they gave me to call is from canada not even the right places& the check header reads CLAYTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS JONESBORO,GA-SAYS ITS A PAYROLL CHECK AS WELL UM WEIRD TRULY. when i called the number today to see wtfh this crap is the verifed my info and then put me on hold then ooooppps hung up on me as well!!!!! the check says its from the superintendent as well looked for that name on that school site nope nothing on the bottom of the letter it also says that its from north american promo program umm can some one tell me what to do lol. i called my bank today to see how i can tell if the funds r there they told me to call that bank in ga so lets hope for the best tommorrow. my question is if it were real why wouldn't they just send me the check after taxes they dont even want to 950???? weird

ef on December 25, 2008:

With all the people talking about trusting your instincts. I highly doubt my instinct , you know things you are born with would be able to radar off something like this.

Barb-Mascoutah, IL on December 06, 2008:

Received a check today in the amount of $3950 drawn FROM Harris Bank in Chicago, IL. The letter is from Worldwide Financial Clearing, Inc. and states I'm a winner of the October 8th, 2008 Sweepstakes Drawing. The letter states I have to call a certain number and ask for a certain representative, However, there is a security code attached to the check and the rep needs to be called before depositing the check so she can remove the security code and also activate the check. Letter states the International Lottery Commission has made a policy that every winning must be "insured" before delivery to avoid a lost or false claim. The $3950 will enable me to pay the applicable insurance fees. Odd the tax associated with the winning has been paid and they will be send a Tax clearance letter along with the other $120,000 I won. After reading all your blogs it appears this is a scam.

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on December 05, 2008:

countrywoman - thanks for your comment. I hope there is still time for Shirley to prevent the bank from processing that check but I fear it is too late to stop it entirely. Unfortunately, unlike some of the Internet scams which promise money, these lottery scams send you a real check and the natural instinct is to believe that you have really won a lottery. As a result many people run to the bank, cash the check, send the money to the scammers and then wait for the promised big check contianing the winnings to arrive. Instead, they get a notice from the bank informing them that they have to repay the proceeds of the check they cashed plus bad check fees. Or worse it is the police (usually FBI as bank fraud is a Federal crime) infroming them that they have broken the law which may have additional bad consequences along with also having to repay the check amount and fees.

countrywomen from Washington, USA on December 05, 2008:

Chuck- Seems like your hub has really helped some one in real time to deal with the hassle of such scams. I get plenty of scam emails about someone in Nigeria and so on. Great hub and good explanation about the consequences. Good research my friend.

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on December 05, 2008:

Shirley, my only suggestion is to contact your bank immediately to see what can be done.

shirley on December 05, 2008:

I deposited the check, but now i want to stop everything . what do I do?

brad4l from USA on December 02, 2008:

I got a similar check once and so I called up the bank that it was issued out of, so I could let them know someone was forging their checks. They seemed like they didn't even care and transferred me to someones voice mail.

Garry Wilson on November 03, 2008:

I just received a check from Marriot Financial Firm in Washington D.C. and the check says I have to deposit the $3630.50 into my bank account right now! Boy am I excited I dont get a paycheck for another 2 weeks. Bank here I come!!

davidchadfish on October 30, 2008:

Here it is..My wife was sure excited. I thought, this doesn't make check, sendmoney, (western union?) back to the lotto people, then get the big prize?.....Well this one is from CONTINENTAL FINANCIAL BUREAU. (with the period).  Yes the english is poor/weird as if translated poorly. The run on sentance has stopped, but the letter just reads weird.---I called them, they said to get to bank,western union the money, and call back for further instructions.Check this-The check is from CITIBANK and on the letter they use a logo obviously stolen from a real site that does lotto worldwide.

My friend at work said "dont do it!!" as his daughter got rooked and needed an attourney to get the bank andcheck people or whoever off her back, she did it, cashed the check for appx 3000.00 then sent the 2900.00 western union left the 1100.00 in her bank, thought she was a "winner" then things got messy.

Yes--there is no free lunch & you have better odds of finding a million dollars than winning a million--but I do buy a ticket here and there--for fun.

Thesepeople need to be prosocuted just for the crime of leading people on and getting them all excited. That is really mean.  Oh, andhere is another funny-One letter I saw in my inquiry to thse is from Iwana Benz sothat name was funny and fake and states an intention. PEACE

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on October 26, 2008:

Leonard, just make sure that the check isn't stolen before you cash it.

leonard vALDEZ on October 25, 2008:


Richard on September 29, 2008:

I have received a letter same as these above just recently and the name on the check was ALL MY SONS MOVING AND STORAGE from Dallas Tx. They sent me a check for 4,985.00 for processing and tax fees.I was told to call Joanne Thomas at1-514-746-3883.all you get is an answering machine saying to call back later.

Stephanie on September 23, 2008:

I just received one of these checks yesterday. It sounded great until the part about paying the taxes. It also came in a blue/white cloud envelope. The label was crooked and upside down on the envelope. My hubby and I decided to check it out. I wanted to call "my agent" and confront him but hubby took the letter so I can't yet. What can we do with these? It would be nice to try to stop even some of this scam! It is scary how real it looks!

Dank on June 30, 2008:

My SEVENTEEN year old fosterkid recv'd a fheck for 4995.00. Oh she was estatic. She had a trust fund nd I was under the impression that it ws a lump sum. I rad the letter and it gave this rundown on how she was to spend 105.00 send 4400.00 to someone or another and keep 300.00 and 5000.00 monthly would follow . The letter allude to be a job opportunity surveying customer service for Money gram. Where the check was real she thought that I was being a 'hater' when I said don't cash it. She is no longer in my home and I hope that she did not cash it. I don't recall the company but the bank was Commerce ans it looks exactly like the one posted at the beginning of this post. NOHING IS FREE!!!

HILDA on June 24, 2008:



RyanRE from Bellingham, WA on June 12, 2008:

Chuck ~ It is amazing how many people do fall for these scams.

paul k on June 06, 2008:

I too received a check for 2'999.00 from Liberty bank out of Oregon and the check is real. But the spelling of readeers digest made me ? what was up so i googled and got this, thanks and it looks like they have moved on because there phone service is full and you can't tell them wear to go.

Esther on May 27, 2008:

I just received a chek in the amount of $2,999.00 from Bank of Belton. We called the number and spoke to someone who we could not understand. This was from Reader's Digest and address Readeer's Digest. Wrong spelling of course. That was what really threw us. Your wording was almost identical, except a little more cleaned up. My husband has cancer and we have lots of bills. We thought this was too good to be true, which is exactly what it is. How sad, Our winnings were $300,000.00 USD. Oh well, I'm certainly glad I found your web site before doing something very foolish. Thanks for the Warning.

6 pack abs on May 26, 2008:

Identity theft... schemes... I already received at least a dozen of e-mail stating that I had won the lottery in the UK and in the US... I must me a millionaire by now (me and the thousands that received these mails)! I learned that no one is giving you anything for free...

Mike Geary on May 24, 2008:

Thanks for the warning!

JazLive from Decatur on May 19, 2008:

I received a check from StayWell, a real company in the USA that manages health benefits for several corporations (Caterpiller, Home Depot, Quaker Food & Beverage, ...). The check was attached to a "British Random Lotto" Winning Certificate. I called the number on the letter, the lady asked me to call back. I then did a search in "BigDaddy" and found the link to StayWell. I called the company and told them about their company checks being used in a British Lotto Scam and that I reported it to the Feds; local law authority and the contents are filed for future reference.

This was the third and final time receiving checks in the mail. The first time was in 2005 - using LG; 2nd & 3rd time in 2006. I started an on-line business in 2005; I thank Jesus, I use a POB in lieu of my home address and a cell phone in lieu of my home tele.

Tina from Wv on April 28, 2008:

I received a letter from Africa once stating I won 70,000. :)

I Need Money Fast on April 28, 2008:

awesome!! and great hub to....maybe i can win a lottery like you...LOL


Lifebydesign from Australia on April 28, 2008:

Fascinating! And a really great hub on this topic!

refinance mortgage florida on April 22, 2008:

Wow, You did a great job!

Paul Smouse on April 20, 2008:

This currently going around as First Group Operating Company LLC based in Lafayette LA, Utilizing checks copied from Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville Alabama, which is a legit well respected company. The First Group ... does relate to many companies, mostly in transportation related industries in the UK. Other than some different wording it is a carbon copy of the above - quite possibly the same bunch of thugs.

jose on April 19, 2008:

they still my money idont wnow the police dont stop this guy.

christineross97 on April 19, 2008:

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Medical Alert Calling Systems on April 15, 2008:

Huge fishing schemes are all over... Thanks for sharing it with us!

asci from UK on April 09, 2008:

I was looking at a new car on the UK autotrader that was in Spain, this was too cheap to be true but when I contacted them they answered the phone and even gave me a website address to look at for the British Shipping Commerce Chambers. So it all looked really good, I asked if I could come over to Spain to see the vehicle but I couldn't because it was locked away ready for shipping?!?! They nearly convinced me and told me to put transfer the money to the escrow account owned by the shipping company, it was all getting toooo dodgy for me so I went to an independent website to get a phone number for the shipping compnay and they didn't exist and told me they had been informed there website had been copied! It just amazes me the front of some of these guys and the lengths they'll go to but you can probably be sure they took thousands off other people!

Curtiesha Lymuel on April 07, 2008:

I'am also got scamed this company COMTEC FINANCIAL TRUST SERVICES mail me a letter that had no forwarding address just my name on the letter I opened the letter and it said that I was a winner for the state lotty and reader's digest , Publisher's Clearing House so I called the number that was given to call the agent that was handling my case Marcus Byron 1-519-991-0538 and that answering machince gave me another number to call 1-514-569-8903 tha man answerd the phone like he was at home no grettig he said that I had ten minutes to deposted tha money and to call him back and let him know my account number so I played a little trick I played like I was at at the bank I was like the bank will not take the check becausre that company does not exited so the man like try It again and tell them that this Ia a buissness trasaction and not to show them the paper that we sent to you along with the letter so I was like ok so I wait a minute and called back no answer called back again no answer so Iwas like I'm try It again he answer and said give up already give up I think It 's a shame that the people would do that to people that really think that they won something they should pay back all the money for pain and suffering that they induer I really want ot find this guy and ripe him apart give him what 's on my mind

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on April 01, 2008:

Nikgaffron, Tim - thanks to both of you for your comments. I just want to remind everyone that the checks involved in these scams are real and can be cashed at a bank. HOWEVER these are STOLEN checks so they WILL BE RETURNED and BAD CHECK CHARGES WILL BE ASSESED BY THE BANK AGAINST YOUR ACCOUNT. Also it is a CRIME to KNOWINGLY deposit a stolen check so you can get in trouble if you try to cash these checks - see some of the comments above from people who have had problems when they deposited these cheks.

Thanks again for your comments.

Tim on March 31, 2008:

I've received a similar letter today (march 20, 2008) From Toyota Financial Services saying I've won from their sweepstakes. I ran the phone number it gives me to contact my "north american agent" and the number is from Canada, maybe my agent decided to move? The only thing that baffles me is that the check is from Toyota disbursed by the UBOC located in CA, as well as the Toyota financial services located in Torrance, CA. another thing is they seem to be pretty mellow with how fast I reply. It was issued on 10th of march, 2008 and I have until april 11th,2008 to claim it, they're giving me plenty of time. by reading all these Comments it seems these scammers like to keep their target companies with Lottery and gaming commissions. I've sent an email to the Toyota Financial Services asking them about this inquery. I will update you on what happens, I'm not holding my breath. I thought I'd put the toyota Financial Service name out their for anyone that might have gotten a similar letter and are looking for hope as I once was till I stumbled apon this blog, thank you.

Nikgaffron on March 31, 2008:

nsw international lotteries

52850 w/ 2850check from nationwide insurance basically the same letter no time restraints ans the grammar wasn't bad except a sentance that started with ".But..."

this is a 100% real check not gonna cash it but its very official signed by Carol L Dove my claims agent is Dennis Nguyen i wish there was a way to cash this bad boy without paying anything back...

Life's Good from Australia on March 07, 2008:

Great job on exposing this scam. I get emails every day from ?? saying I have won US$5,000,000 or Pounds Sterling $$$$. The sender's name gives it away, it has some stupid name like UK Lottery Notification Winners and the `Officer' who you must give your bank details and personal information, to `claim' your prize is haha! especially when I am not even living in the UK.

Anyone with some common sense should be able to see through them.

A few years ago, I was genuinely tricked by an email saying I had won 1st prize in a Poetry contest. I had submitted my poem and this email said I had won US$20,000 and I had to come to the event to collect my prize! I contacted my best friend and asked him whether he would like to come with me. He told me it was a scam. I was so disappointed. I thought I was going to be some famous poet! Oh well, back to the 9-5 job...

Work hard, be honest, be kind, loving to enjoy good friends and a good life, is the best policy. These scammers should try it!

Marc on March 05, 2008:

It would seem like a Godsend to win the lottery, but big money brings big problems. Thanks for exposing this one.

archturn on March 03, 2008:

How we love to believe the improbable. We are so self deceiving. A wise man said "yes someone will win the lottery, it just won't be you."

Fran Horvath from Universal on February 29, 2008:

I know someone in Ohio who got a check from a scam similar to this one. Not sure if it was the same company - but it was the same MO. My friend actually deposited the check and then when the bank found out it was a scam - treated my friend like he was a criminal too. They thought he was in on the scam and froze his account for a few weeks.

I am all about believing in miracles but our instincts tell us the difference between truth and falsehood if we pay attention!

Great article.

Ernesto A. Gonzalez on February 23, 2008:

I'm selling my 1986 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am runs good, and received to checks Keystone Financial for $6,500.00 and another from Citizens Bank for $4,850.00 both I assume fruad.

Keystone I know is fruad. the other I take it as fruad. (Who in there right mind would truest someone like this.)

Beth on February 21, 2008:

Back in april of 2007 I received a check saying that I had won the lottery and they sent me a check for 2962, stating that after the check cleared to call them and they would send details on how I could get the 50,000 the company on the check said cantech but I eventually foubd out that wasn't true. It was from the Tower Processing Center in St thomas virgin Islands. I didn't know that it was a fraud as I have entered different sweepstakes on the internet and now Im being taken to court for this. Please if you have any suggestions on what I can do please let me know as I have called the FTC and the FBI on this

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on February 18, 2008:

Penny, Rick - Thanks for visiting my Hub and for your comments.

Rick, you are not only correct but I also believe it is illegal to knowingly deposit a bad check and, even if you deposit one in good faith, once the bank notifies you that the check has been returned you are obligated to return the funds. Also, since most banks are insured by an agency of the Federal Government (the FDIC) it is the FBI that you will have to deal with rather than the local police.

Thanks again to both of you and, Penny, I'm glad you were just kidding with your comment.

penny marshal on February 18, 2008:

i know, i was just kidding by the way :)

Rick Merlin on February 18, 2008:

i don't think that is such a good idea, Penny. You'll have collections calling you alot.

penny marshal on February 18, 2008:

just open up a new bank account at a new bank, deposit the check, wait for it to clear, then withdraw the $2950. after that just close the account. big deal. a good way to screw up your credit, but also a better way then robbing a bank :)

assuming one is in desparate need of cash.

Diane Corriette on February 17, 2008:

Its amazing what people will do to get your money! Informative hub and at least I know what to do if I ever receive on of those

Anthony Coleman on February 03, 2008:

I just received a letter with a check for $3,987.85. At first look I though I hit the Jackpot. Then after reading the letter I decided to check up on it and came across your Blog. I am glad I did. Thanks for the info. It didn't make sense to me either.

John on January 29, 2008:

I just received a letter with a check that was close to 4,000$. I called the number of the person that was my agent, and asked her some questions too. She would put me on hold and that is a big red flag to me. My fiancé and her mother told me too look in to it more and I am glad that i did it. The check is from JET Inc. and the lady told me too call her back in two days. I am not going to do what she wants me to, and I will leet the company know what is going on.

The Phantom Blot on January 19, 2008:

Excellent hub, and good information. I used to be a bank supervisor, and you got it right. I love the ads too!

observer502 on January 04, 2008:

Hi Chuck. Your article has been so "relieving" because I have received probably 150 emails informing me that I won the lottery for 5 million dollars or 3 million pounds, or somebody from Africa supposedly died and left a huge fortune and I will act as a surviving relative to become an instant heir to millions. I have to admit, I called up ONE phone number, but luckily no one was on the other end to pick up the phone. I always wondered what the scam was all about. There was a time when I asked myself if I have been refusing to become rich by my being too careful. But as you said, TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. Now, I am glad I trusted my instincts.

But I am worried about the others. I hope more people read your hub and get warned. More power, Chuck!

Barry Rutherford from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2007:

I got something about a year ago as an email saying that I'd been successful in winning an online Lottery promotion and had won first prize of 795,000 + pounds sterling. then came the qualifiers which they wanted my identity and a processing fee. I kept sending them emails just to send a check. Eventually I got a check for two dollars which i never bothered with & deleted all their existing reminders...

Lisa on December 11, 2007:

My husband just received his Maple Diamond Jackpot letter;we figured it was a scam and decided to check the interent.It sure would have been nice to have that money right now with Christmas around the corner.Thanks for the info.

Rob on December 11, 2007:

Add me to list list of lucky winners. I wanted everyone to know my award notification certificate letterhead was from" Maple Diamond Jackpot". It was from the Directoor of Promotion Dept. in Toronto, ON and had Canadian postage and no return address on the envelope. The prize was $48,000.00 US and the check in the envelope was for $2,500.00 US. The check was drawn from National City Bank and looked very official! Otherwise the scam worked the same way as previously reported.

Craig in Ohio on December 07, 2007:

Add me to the list of receivers: Letterhead reads "Payment & Trust Services" in Nassau, Bahamas. Same MO and letter content as others. Check issues from "National Oilwell Varco" Houston, Texas, with a check address of 135 Hospital Drive, Van Wert OH. Check amount $1870.00 which is cashable by me, but I am to call to make an initial payment to be sent in to them, and remaining $25,000 of the total $26,870 was mine once they received initial $1870.00 from me.

Earth Angel on December 04, 2007:

Hi Chuck!! Thanks again for the GREAT Hub and the quick response!! I DID forward your wonderful information to many of my friends who might be lured into such a scam!! Thank you again for sharing such WONDERFUL information!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on December 04, 2007:

Earth Angel, thanks for visiting my Hub and for your comment.

I, too, have a background in econmics and teach it part time and as to your comment about the increase in Thanksgiving retail sales there are some other possible explanations besides the lottery scam checks behind this. Without digging deeply into the numbers, another explanation could be that more people decided to take advantage of the sales that were being offered and spent their Christmas shopping money sooner rather than over the next few weeks. The 8.3% increase over last year refers to Thanksgiving weekend sales only and not overall holiday spending. Given the sales hype and the deep discounting that most stores offered many may have approached this as a way to save money overall rather than a big splurg. The predictions that I have seen are that retail sales for the whole holiday season will only be about 1% over last year and retail profits, while expected to be positive, are not expected to set any records. Again, the huge discounting by sellers in making their margins thinner while giving the consumer a good financial break.

Also, at this point in time the falling home prices and rising mortgage payments are just starting to affect consumers. At this point it is more a problem for lenders who are attempting to write down the value of their mortgages and take the accounting loss now rather than in the future. In other words, they have not really lost money yet and but are merely setting funds aside for the day when they will encounter these expected losses. Further, falling home prices are not a real problem for homeowners unless they have to sell. A person not planning to move for some years will not be affected by a decline in value (and actually might benefit as their realestate taxes, which are based upon the home's value, could decrease. For many of these people the only affect will be that they will have less money left over when they sell their home and pay off the mortgage. However, those who have purchased a home, with a low down payment within the past few years and have to sell soon (and one reason for being forced to sell could be that their payments on their adjustable mortgage are rising to an amount they can no longer afford to pay, will have a problem as their homes will probably sell for less than what they owe. While this could have negative impact on the economy in the near future, it is just starting now and I don't think that enough individuals have been impacted as yet to prevent something like the jump in Thanksgiving weekend sales.

This is my take on the sales jump. Thanks again for visiting and commenting on my Hub and definitely warn others about this scam as that is hurting many people as it continues to con them.

Earth Angel on December 03, 2007:

WOW!! Chuck what a GREAT Hub!! And what a GREAT service to all who received and were tempted by seemingly official winnings!! Thank you!!

This Scam is running rampant!! I "connect the dots" a bit differently than most!! The following might be related!!??

Last week the news media reported retail sales for the weekend of Thanksgiving (going into the Holidays) up over 8.3% from last year!! I have a background in economics and 8.3% would be nearly impossible!! Especially in a year where housing prices are falling and mortgage rates are climbing!!

On the news and Internet again are story after story of people in the U.S. buying TONS of stuff for the Holidays!!?? I was in Las Vegas at a Family Reunion (none of us gamble but like the shows) over the weekend and I have NEVER seen soooooooooooooooo many people throwing their money away!!

Could it be that sooooooooooooooo many people have fallen for this scam?? I pray not!! Even if people suspected a scam, but cashed the checks anyway thinking they wouldn't be responsible for repayment later, it could collapse the U.S. economy in less than 60 days!!??

Any thoughts??

Again, GREAT Hub Chuck!! Thank you soooooooooooooo much!! I have a few elderly friends I need to warn right away!!

Blessings, Earth Angel!!

HLMELTON on November 29, 2007:

well chuck dont even try to put that crap in your bank account. i came home one day to find on my doorstep an overnight envelope addressed to me that had nothing in it but three money grams for 810 each well i hung on to them until the nigerian that sent them to me contacted me by email asking if i got them i told him yeah and i immediately turned them over to the fbi, what an idiot this guy was. they were not legit anyway. i have them on my scam trophy wall or i can always start fires with em.they contact me all the time with diff job offers and crap i just delete em.

denise on November 19, 2007:

Boy I got lucky I received one of these checks and it just seemed too good to be true so I shred it.

I just knew it was too good to be true.

After stumbling into this site, I was happy with my decision. i feel sorry for those that fall to this kind of traps. Unfortunately, there are many.

jeanjw on November 18, 2007:

funny but true stuff

michelle francis on November 15, 2007:

First off, really glad to have found this site, thank you so much for the great info..... back to the last comment, I too received a check for 3,872.99 from mci finanicial ,contact person the same monica thompson but when I called the # a male answered the phone and said she was at a meeting. I held onto the check for a couple of more days, went to see afriend of mine ,who happens to be a branch manager. After much discussion, we contacted someone from lost prevention, we followed their instructions, first, contact bank of america, the routing #'s and the account # were legit from a global acount of bank of america.We put the check in the account with a 25 day hold, they assured me if it came back bad I would face no fee's or criminial charges, and yes you can be charged with fraud if you knowingly put a bad or fraudulagent check in the bank. So everyone please beware these a-- holes are out to hurt antbody they can. But also remember they will get their's 10 fold in the end... God Speed

MCJ on November 13, 2007:

November 13, 2007

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I just received a letter too, here in Youngtown, AZ. Same story, however, mine came with an official letterhead from MCI Financial and a Check for $3872.99. The letter has 2 addresses one listed as: 235 3545-35 Avenue N.E. Suite 409, Calgary Alberta T1Y6M6: Telephone 705-770-5904. The other is: A Division of MCI 22001 Loudoun County Parkway, Ashburn, VA 20147.

In the letter it tells me to contact a Monica Thompson at the above phone number she is supposed to be the agent. I am also to claim the winnings no later than November 22, 2007. It gives a claim number, and yes as some of you mentioned, the sentence structure is very poor in some parts of the letter.

Having difficult times, I too was really hoping that this was a dream come true, however, it was only a dream, and now I have to slap myself back into reality.

This is not fair! Especially, when you are handicaped, having financial problems, and just lost your job due to illness, it is just not fair!

I am so glad I found this site. I too will be taking the information to my bank as a warning. I am also sending a letter to both addresses and giving them a piece of my mind.

Misha from DC Area on November 11, 2007:

Being a curious person, I always wandered how that stuff works. And being a lazy person, I always failed to research :) Thanks Chuck!

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