Lottery Winnings / Sweepstakes Fraud Alert
Protect Yourself! Watch for the Signs of Fraud
There is a counterfeit check fraud operation that is illegally mailing counterfeit checks bearing well-known company names with the purpose of misleading consumers into sending money to designated addresses in the United Kingdom and Canada. They are using the names of well-known companies on the checks in order to grant them a false air of legitimacy. Examples of names fraudulently used on such checks have included such prominent companies as The Walmart Foundation, Prudential Life Insurance Company and Primerica Life Insurance Company. Although the checks may bear the name of a reputable company, they are in fact counterfeit and cannot be cashed or deposited.
Here's how the fraud works:
The recipient may receive a letter indicating that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes prize for a significant sum, often for $250,000 or more. The letter includes an "advance check" for a small portion of the "prize," often as much as $5,000 or more. This check may bear the name of a legitimate and prominent company like those listed above. Although the listed company may be based in the United States, the letter is often postmarked from a foreign country such as Canada or the United Kingdom. The accompanying letter requests that the recipient call a number to wire money to pay "taxes" or "fees" on the prize which the enclosed check is meant to "reimburse." In fact, the enclosed check is counterfeit and will not be honored, and the fraudster simply keeps the wired money.
Neither Primerica Life Insurance Company nor its affiliate companies engage in any sweepstakes or lottery promotions, nor do they issue checks in connection with any such promotions.
If you receive a suspicious letter or check like those described, you may report the incident as a mail fraud complaint to the United States Postal Service. Please visit the USPS Customer Service website, https://www.usps.com/customerservice/welcome.htm?from=home_footer&page=CustomerService. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also provides valuable information on its website, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0159-fake-checks.
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