Actually, they never stopped their efforts to get innocent people to part with their hard-earned money. But it is holiday season again and that is when the swindlers like to strike innocent victims the most.
The latest scam to hit Jefferson’s desk was a letter from the “Dometic Financial Services & Consultants.”
Jefferson said he has gotten two letters recently, along with complaints from the people who received them.
“We are pleased to inform you through this letter that our network shows you as the lucky winner of an unclaimed prize money in the amount of Fiftyseven Thousand Dollars (57,000) in United States Funds,” the letter begins.
(Note the errors in syntax, spelling and grammar that are common in letters generated in countries where English is not the commonly used language.)
“All patricipants were selected through a computerized ballot system drawn from Readers Digest, Publishers Clearing House, Online Sweepstakes, Internet Games etc...”
“Enclosed, is a check for ($3,993.45) which covers both the administrative taxes and Clearance fees of your winnings,” said the author of the letter, Sally Nelson, Claim Specialist of Dometic Financial Services & consultants.
“For authorization and activation of this check, please contact your agent Jessica Johnson immediately at Tel: 1-514-581-6749 Your winnings must be claimednot later than October 22 2008”
(Again, note the punctuation errors. The language within the quotation marks is exactly as it appears in the letter.)
“Your name is attached to claim Number US/CA/ZDS49-00G. We advise, you keep your claim number confidentially secured until your claim is processed and Funds remitted, as this is part of our security protocol.”
“Please, remember to quote your Reference Number in all correspondence with us in other to avoid unnecessary delays. Congratulation again from our staff and sponsors.”
The second letter Jefferson has received came from “Mystery Shoppers Inc” and informed the intended victim that she had been chosen to participate in a “Consumer Research Program.”
The letter tells the intended victim that he or she has been chosen to take part in a training assignment that could lead to a permanent, part-time job paying $400 a week and eventually $800 a week.
Again, the letter includes a check for $3,860. All the recipient has to do is deposit the check in his or her account and contact the company’s account manager for details on how to complete remittance forms and to verify assignment completions.
The scam comes when the recipient of the letter makes the call to activate the check, Jefferson said. It is then that the victim is asked to provide a bank account number or other information that could lead to a significant loss of money.
“Be suspicious, be very suspicious,” Jefferson said of letters offering a deal that is too good to be true and a check to prove it.
He said that when the intended victim calls to provide the information required to deposit the check in his or her account, that is when the scam occurs.
The person on the other end of the line will want things like bank account numbers or Social Security numbers or anything else that people should not be giving to strangers over the phone.
Jefferson said that in the cases mentioned, he understood that the would-be scam artist is looking for information so a money order or some other payment can be made directly to a bank account. What actually happens is that the bank account is cleaned out in seconds.
“If you have no idea who this bank is or you never had any dealing with this bank or person, then it’s safe to assume it’s a scam,” Jefferson said. “Nobody’s going to give away free money.”
Jefferson said that when one traces the phone numbers listed in the letters, they always end up being in some place like Nigeria. And that is in Africa, not New York or Indiana, as the letters claim.