This week one of our CCCS staff members received great news – she was notified that she had won $150,000 through the UK’s Mega Lottery! Accompanying the letter she had received was a check for $3,990 (a portion of her winnings). All she needs to do is send $1,995 to the lottery claim agent to cover taxes on her winnings.
Was our staff member excited? Did she treat everyone to lunch because she’s now $150,000 richer?
No, she didn’t – she recognized that this is a scam.
Many, though, are duped by such ploys.Â Con artists are adept at generating notifications that look official and quite legitimate.Â The letter that our staff member received tells her that this information is highly confidential, and that she shouldnâ€™t share the news with anyone.Â It tells her that theyâ€™ve tried to reach her many times, and that this is her final notification.Â If she doesnâ€™t act now, sheâ€™ll miss out.Â Click here to see the actual letter that our staff member received.
Hereâ€™s what the Federal Trade Commission says about Fake Check scams:Â â€œThe check is no good, even though it appears to be a legitimate cashierâ€™s check. The lottery angle is a trick to get you to wire money to someone you donâ€™t know. If you were to deposit the check and wire the money your bank would soon learn that the check was a fake. And, youâ€™re out the money because the money you wired canâ€™t be retrieved, and youâ€™re responsible for the checks you deposit â€” even though you donâ€™t know theyâ€™re fake. This is just one example of a counterfeit check scam that could leave you scratching your head.â€
For more information on how con artists use this scam to take advantage of consumers, check out the FTCâ€™s full article on their Scam Alert blog.
Sarah Clark Oster is the Director of Marketing and Education Outreach at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Tennessee River Valley, a non-profit organization committed to helping individuals resolve their financial difficulties. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Tennessee River Valley is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. To schedule an appointment contact CCCS of the Tennessee River Valley at 888.381.8178 or visit them online at www.credithelptoday.org.
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.