The cashier’s check made out to Jerry Montgomery of Lake Brownwood for $4,270 seemed too good to be true.
So the first thing Montgomery did was check out a few things for himself.
Accompanying the check was a letter or “cash prize notification” informing Montgomery he had just won $400,000, but due to compliance regulations governing the International Lottery Commission, the winnings would need to be insured. According to the letter, written on National Global Award Inc. letterhead with an Australian address, the advance of $4,270 was needed for that insurance.
“The first thing that made me suspicious,” Montgomery said, “was the cashier’s check was written on a credit union in California, the letter has an Australian address and the postmark is from Canada.
Montgomery said that by doing some Internet research, he found a phone number for the credit union, which he called.
“It’s an actual credit union,” Montgomery said, “but the check is bogus. They asked me to fax a copy of it to them, but they told me someone was trying to scam me.”
The cashier’s check looks official and has watermarks and coloring that make it look like it probably is a good check.
“I’m just trying to warn people,” Montgomery said. “If people aren’t aware of this, they could fall for the scam.”
He said he had gone to the Brownwood City Police and was told the scam is similar to quite a few the department’s seen.
“There’s not much they can do, especially if they’re being sent out of Canada,” Montgomery said.
What Montgomery said what he suspects the scammers would have done, if he had called and tried to claim the prize, would tell him he would need to endorse the one check back to them and send additional money, or give his bank routing and checking account numbers for them to supposedly deposit the $400,000 and instead they would have drafted his account for all available funds.
Police have warned there are a number of scams being run now, and people need to be aware. Once the money’s been taken, it’s usually too late to stop the scam.
A check or warning list against scams follows:
If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is. Do not provide any personal information to anyone who contacts you by phone. Do not send money to anyone who claims you have won a prize. Be suspicious of unexpected cashier’s checks you receive in the mail, and check to see if the letter, check and postmark are from the same address, state or country. Do not accept information provided by the caller as being true. If in doubt, follow up by contacting a trusted source of information. Place yourself on the National No Call List by going to www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx or by calling (888) 382-1222. If you are unsure of a phone call or what action you need to take, visit www.ftc.gov to read or download additional information on numerous consumer-related scams. Contact your local law enforcement agency for additional materials or call (877) 382-4357 to receive free material from the Federal Trade Commission.