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Phoney Contest Scams get More Realistic

posted by Nathalie Martin

Uh oh, look what my dad got!   Prize notification_Page_1

Our attorney general’s office reports getting dozens upon dozens of claims about these every year.  I guess it is obvious that it is a scam, but I am not sure the average person would know it.  The check looks incredibly real and even has an ink mark.

  What should you do if you see one of the these?  If it comes from Canada, you should call the Canadian Anti-Fraude Centre at

Toll Free: 1-888-495-8501
Toll Free Fax: 1-888-654-9426
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.antifraudcentre-


A recent article  warns about the Canadian Check Scams.  It recalls an example of a Wichita Falls woman who received a bogus check in the mail, dated Nov. 5, saying she had won $195,000 as a sweepstakes prize in a Canadian lottery. She was sent a legitimate-looking check for $4,880 and was instructed to send $3,720 back for a “nonresidential tax” after the check cleared the bank.  This is exactly like the attached letter to dad.

“It is the typical foreign sweepstakes scam,” said Monica Horton, president of the local Bettter Business Bureau office. “It meets all the criteria for the foreign sweepstakes scams.

“The red flag is the check is less than $5,000 and you have instructions to call them after you have deposited the check. They tell you to keep it private until after the bank transaction. Once you deposit the check and wire the money, there is nothing that can be done. You are the one who endorsed the check, so the bank will come after you for the money. The consumer is going to be out the money that is wired back. The bank will make you pay. It is a fraudulent check.”

Many banks let these checks go through, thus generating bounced check and overdraft fees for them.  I hope this post  helps a few consumers avoid getting ripped off. 




Prize notification_Page_3


Pretty amazing with the Internet and all that so many people still fall for these scams. But I guess you're only aware of them if you read about them or pay attention. If you live in your own little insulated world, eventually you'll become a mark.

It seems that frauds are getting great in numbers every year, they were able to scam more people so don't be one of them. Know the difference.

You'd think the use of Comic Sans in the letter would be a bit of a giveaway, if nothing else.

That's exactly what my students said but I guess because I'm sort of old, I had never heard this. My dad definately would not know this. My husband a reading teacher also says that educators know that Comic Sans and Tacoma are easier to read because they lack serif.

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