Local resident Pat Jones knew it was a scam the moment she saw a $2,985 cashier’s check in her mother’s hand.
But her mother wasn’t convinced, even going so far as to endorse the check. She likely would have lost some of her hard-earned money if Jones had not interfered.
“I kept telling her it wasn’t real, but she didn’t believe me,” said Jones. “I did some checking on it and found out it was probably a con and then I called the number on the letter she received. When the guy found out I’d been checking into it, he got really mad. He said, ‘You’re not supposed to do that. It says in the letter not to do that. This offer is null and void.’”
The letter, which appears to be on “Reader’s Digest” letterhead, starts by saying, “Congratulations” and then informs the recipient in badly worded sentences they have had their lucky numbers drawn and have been approved for a lump sum payout of $500,000.
But the winning letter also comes with a warning. “You are hereby advised to keep the award confidential until your claim has been processed. This is part of security protocol to avoid misconduct or double claiming by some of our participants.”
The $2,985 check was included to help cover “any charges that may be required before you receive your funds.” The official-looking cashier’s check is no doubt bogus, police say, and the con would have come when the recipient called a Mr. Charles Tucker as directed in the letter.
When the Standard called the number included and talked to a man who identified himself as Mr. Tucker, he spoke with a heavy accent and was interested in getting personal information. When that wasn’t provided, he was quick to get off the phone.
Police remind local residents that true contest winners never have to pay a fee in order to collect a prize. They also stress you should never give out personal information like bank account numbers over the phone, especially if the person claims you have won a large sum of money and they are going to wire it to your account.