Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm A Winner???

The other day in the mail, I received 2 envelopes addressed to me with no return address. I opened them and to my great surprise, they both informed me that I had won a "Publishers Clearing House" Lump sum prize of $125,000.00...that's $250,000.00...a quarter of a million dollars! AND, included in each letter was a check, both in the amount right around $3900.00.

Now let me tell you, these were real checks. Everything was on them, drawn on legitimate banks and looked very official. We called our attorney who took a look at each letter and check and figured this was probably a scam but couldn't tell for sure. Brad and I called the numbers on each letter (2 different numbers with 2 different area codes...both happened to be in Ontario, Canada) and the same man answered each time...with a heavy accent. I played along...

I was to ask for my "account manager" whose name was Sarah (something, can't remember). Too bad, she was busy so this "nice" man would help me. I asked him what I needed to do, (Brad was on the other line) and he asked my zipcode, my last name, my "account number" (that they had assigned) and told me to simply deposit the money into my account and then send money through Western Union to a company to pay the tax portion of each winning! That's it...only one problem, it's a huge S.C.A.M.!!

We knew this before we called...we just couldn't resist. Brad asked him a question to which this man YELLED at him and said, "Sir, I will only speak with your wife!!" Then I told him that he was a fraud and this was a scam to which he yelled, "You and your husband are CRIMINALS!!"...REALLY??? We were just being responsible citizens, or so I thought...then he hung up on us!

So we called back...several times during the evening. Brad got him back on the line and this man called him a "Mother _______". So Brad called back and asked him, "what would your mother think of you?"..."what would your Heavenly Father think of you" etc. He caught on to us and when Brad called again, the line had a busy signal. Did this stop my husband? Heck No! He just used the other phones (we have a total of 4 lines in our house including our 2 cell phones) and this idiot answered each time!

Now maybe he shouldn't have harrassed him so much, but he wanted to be this scam artist's biggest nightmare. It made him feel better.

I am posting this because I know that there will be people who will fall for this. What happens is this: you deposit the check. It shows that it has cleared the next day, so you send the money through Western Union (Oh, and did I tell you that you get to keep $1000.00 for yourself?). All's well, right? Very Wrong! A few days later, the check bounces and you are responsible for it! Now you have to cover the full amount of the check plus fees...and remember, you sent most of it through Western's all gone...

So here's what tipped me off:

1. No return address on the envelopes.
2. The letter was addressed to "Dear Sir/Madam"...not "Dear Mary"
3. A few minor spelling errors in the letter.
4. The fact that I had to send them any money at all...and why didn't they send me MY winnings through Western Union??

So, the old adage, "If it's seems too good to be true..." well, you know the rest.


michelle said...

WOW, that is a bit scary! It just amazes me that people do this and the sad thing is some people fall for it and wind up paying so much. Good for you and your hubby for taking a stand!

Sorry you didn't win millions :(

Lynn said...

GOOD FOR YOU Mary!!! You two are VERY smart. I laughed SO hard at your fun with this scam artist. It's obvious he was frustrated at being "found out". Too funny.

We use to get these publisher clearing house envelopes all the time as well. But never had one with a cheque in it saying we won. Only that we COULD win something. I honestly don't know what I would of done if I saw those cheques. It sure opened up my eyes. THANKS for sharing this! If anything.....I'm glad it provided a little fun. I am still laughing. I wish I could of been a fly on that man's wall. ; D

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

Glad you caught this scam. So sorry this happened. Happy Thanksgiving. Love & blessings from NC!