By Christie Post - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – There's a fraudulent sweepstakes popping up in some area mailboxes and some are falling victim to the scam. Banks said this is just one of the many fraudulent scams and it's all too common to the financial industry.
We've all heard the saying if it's too good to be true, it probably is. That's exactly what one couple thought when they got a check in the mail saying they won. "If you read the letter it says we won a sweepstakes, but we didn't. We took it to the bank and the bank verified it was fraud," said sweepstakes victim, Carol Dodson.
Carol Dodson said her husband frequently enters sweepstakes. "This came from Switzerland. I don't remember filing anything or signing anything to go to Switzerland. So how did they get our address?" said Dodson.
Dodson gave us a copy of her fraudulent check, which she said looks identical to a Wells Fargo cashier's check. It was for over $4,000.
"I wanted people to be aware of this, because the check looks so real, so real. The bank is going to file fraud charges on them," said Dodson.
So KCBD NewsChannel 11 went to Wells Fargo to get answers. Chris Griffith, the district manager said scams like this happen daily in the financial industry and they're mailed out by the thousands. "And we're looking for those. We want to catch fraud as much as anyone and prohibit our customers from taking a loss. And while they're out there, recognize that they're going to be out there anyone can be a victim. The criminals and the scams are very good so the checks are going to look valid," said Wells Fargo district manager, Chris Griffith.
Griffith said usually these scams tell you pay the company first and then you'll get the prize. "It says you are required to pay a total sum of 2,987 dollars for government tax. This amount is to be paid by Western Union directly to a tax agent," said Dodson.
To not fall victim to the scam, Griffith said do not cash the check and bring it to the bank to verify if it's legitimate. "If you deposit the check and the check comes back returned, obviously it would still be against your account so you would be liable for it. However in most cases when you bring it into a lobby and actually have the teller look at it, we catch it. We're trained on it, we talk about fraud all the time," said Dodson.
According to the Better Business Bureau, the company De Lotto Switzerland Sweepstakes is actually located in Canada. And according to them, it's illegal for foreign contests to be conducted by mail in the United States.
Here are some helpful websites from BBB with information about fraudulent checks:
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