We also just received a letter with a return address of Canada. There was a phone number to dial for instructions. There was also a check enclosed for $3, 127.75. We'll get back to the check in a short while. Read on . . . . .
We phoned the number and were told "CONGRATULATIONS! " They said we were winners; even though they could not identify that we had ever entered a contest or what contest was awarding us a prize for having entered. They could however verify that we were a 3rd Grand Prize Winner randomly selected by computer and that the winning was in the amount of $75, 000.
The letter stated that the clearance/processing fees calcuated based on the winnings and is required by the federal and international law comes to the amount of $2, 977.75. The enclosed check (mentioned earlier) of $3, 127.75 was to cover insurance, handling, duty and taxes fees. The letter also stated that according to federal and international laws it is strictly forbidden to use these monies for any other purpose than paying your clearing/processing fees.
We were instructed to send the $2, 977.75 to a "processing agent" in Alberta Calgary. This meant depositing or cashing that check. We were told to only use MoneyGram to send the money and we were instructed to lie to the people at MoneyGram by saying the person we were sending the money to is a friend or relative that we know well, so as not to draw suspicion. The $150 difference between the $3, 127.75 and the $2977.75 would pay the Comsumer Fee at MoneyGram and pay for travel expenses.
Then, once they received the money we would be given a Tracking number with FedEx for the shipment of our winnings, which we were assured would arrive in 24 hours.
Surprise, MoneyGram put a "hold" on the transaction. Needless to say my phone has been ringing from the people in Canada wanting me to phone MoneyGram and insist that they release the money to them right away.
When I phoned MoneyGram they asked no questions and released the "hold" at my request, but I rang them back a few minutes later. When I learned that the recipient had not yet closed the transaction, I had MoneyGram put a "stop payment" on the deal. I asked to speak with a supervisor and discussed with them my concerns about this being a SCAM. They were very helpful and immediately negotiated the prompt return of the entire amount of the funds to us.
My phone continues to ring this evening with calls from Canada asking why the delay in removing the "hold" on the money they are so anxiously anticipating. They can't understand why I'm not on the phone yelling to have that money forwarded to them. They do not know that I terminated the transaction.
My plans for tomorrow morning include going to the bank and inquire about the check for $3, 127.75 that they'd cashed. I have a suspicion that my bank is going to learn that there are insufficient funds to cover that amount due to it being a fraudulent check. I only hope that they don't penalize us for attempting to cash this check -- THAT OR -- I've got a nice gift to give away to a worthy cause.