Wow! I'm the lucky winner of $490, 000, and they even enclosed a check for $4889 to cover taxes! And I checked that the bank which the check is written on is legit! Sounds great, right? Read the letter and then I'll tell you "the catch"!
Here's the letter:
A&B CLEARING HOUSE
5020 Airport Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia
We are pleased to inform you that you are one of the winners in the second category international Sweepstake Draw held on March 16th, 2007.
Your ENTRY SLIP with serial #... drew the lucky winning numbers...
You are entitled to the sum of US $490, 000.00 Payable to you by CERTIFIED CHECK, and will be delivered to you by our special courier company.
You are therefore advised to contact your assigned claims agent:
WILLIAM BOND @ 1-250-813-1527
Monday to Friday 10am to 730pm for further instructions on how to claim your big winning.
Enclosed is a check of US 4889 which you will use to pay the Non Resident Government Service Tax (GST), payable to your tax agent as stated.
YOUR TAX AGENT IS:
SERENA B. HOOPER
234 7th AVENUE
Halifax, Nova Scotia
TAX AMOUNT $2875.00 us dollars
PAYMENT METHOD: Money Gram
NOTE: Please do not act on this notice until you contact your CLAIM agent who will advice you on how to claim your winning.
David Charles (Promotions Manager)
Stamped Approved, Final Notice
First question - So the check is from a legitimate bank, but is the account for real? Strange how the check is from the Silicon Valley Bank in California yet the account (company name issuing the check) is a New York location.
Second question - Is the company on the letter for real? I did an internet search; no such company and no other "aka"'s at that address. And a reverse phone number search showed the number to be on the other coast of Canada (not at the address.) Okay, so perhaps they use another a/k/a, or there are various offices - one to call, one for address. Still fishy.
And finally, a search for scams. Yup, this one found - same letter even (just a change of company names and contacts.) The premise is they expect you to cash the check and send them the other lower tax amount in the interim, thereby giving them access to your account information (on the endorsed check from them and on your check to them - great way for identify theft! ), noting their check will bounce while you just sent them almost $3, 000!
Be smart - unless the cameras are rolling, and balloons and flowers are at your door, it's usually just another scam.