I recieved a letter stating I had won the North American Sweepstake Lottery, and I am entitled to $250,000 US dollars, along with a check for $4, 895.75 from Conneticut Power Tools, one of their sponsors, to assist me in paying the taxes on my winnings, which were assessed as $2,795.00 US dollars, and must be paid by me prior to recieving my winnings, which could be wired directly into my account or paid by certified check.
The letter asked that I please not attempt to cash or deposit the check until I contacted my assigned claim officer Mr. Terry Hanson between 11:00 am -5:00 pm Monday-Friday Eastern Time. phone # (647) 868-0185. It also said that if I did not contact them within 10 days the check would be lost, and my winning would be void.
I thought of how that $250,000 would solve all my problems, I could pay off my student loans, buy a house for myself and my children, and finally be able to move out of my mother's. With my own house I could start my own business from home. My life and my children's would be completely turned around! I called and left a message that I was depositing the check.
Then I tried to call back, several times that day and eight times the next day, on both that # and the other number given on the top of the letter (888) 242-2963, I repeatedly got the recorded message that there was no more room left to leave messages. I then drove to Kinko's and attempted to send a fax on the fax # listed on the top of the letter (647) 868-0738, and I got a recording that the fax number I was dialing was not in operation at this time.
I tried twice more, just to be sure. On my way to the post office where I was intending to send a certified letter, I tried once more to reach Mr. Terry Hanson. He actually picked up, and in a strong accent, which sounded Jamaican rather than Canadian, he said he did not have the information for me on how to pay the taxes and collect my funds. He asked me why I hadn't responded to other letters they sent out in December, which I hadn't recieved.
I told him that the only letter I recieved was dated Jan. 15, and as I recieved it Tuesday Jan 20, and the bank would put a 5-10 day hold on it, and it was now Wednes.. Jan. 21, I was concerned that I was only given 10 days in which to contact them or have it and my winnings nullified, so I deposited it. I asked him if this was real, and he said it was, and I asked why did I need to pay the taxes FIRST before recieving my winnings, in other lotteries and at the track, casinos, etc. you pay taxes AFTER recieving winnings.
I asked him to just subtract the taxes from my winnings and mail me the certified check for the difference. He said it didn't work that way because they were in Canada,and this was Canadian taxes that I needed to pay FIRST, but said that he didn't have the information and I needed to call him back on Friday, and he would have the information. I stated that I did not have confidence that I would be able to reach him as I had tried 8 times before reaching him.
He repeated that I had to call back on Friday. It is now Friday. I tried several times, recieving recordings that there was no room for more messages, then I finally reached him and he asked if I had spoken to the bank to see if the check had cleared yet, and if the funds were available for me to pay the taxes today. I said as I told him before, and I am sure he already knows, most banks place a 5-10 day hold on checks from out of town, especially Canada in the US, and I did not believe the check would have cleared yet. He asked if I did internet banking.
I said no, I do not, and I had been advised NOT to give out my account information or any private information that would jeapordize me. I asked for the company's web site because my google search brought up nothing, and he stated that they were the PARENT COMPANY of PUBLISHER'S CLEARINGHOUSE. I told him I did not have the funds until the check cleared, and I would not be writing any check out to them until then. He told me to call him back on Tuesday, after the funds had cleared.
I said I did not want to wait until Tuesday to get the information, and asked why he couldn't just give me the information now, where would I send the taxes, and how would I get my winnings. Once again, he said he did not have that information, and told me he would get the information and call me back. I asked him when he would call me back, and he said within the hour. I'm Still waiting.
I called my bank, and they transferred me to their risk management person, and she said it sounds like 100% scam, and that there have been a lot of these scams going on, through Publisher's Clearinghouse, and so now they have changed their names, or made up dummy company names, and people write them checks for taxes, their checks from the company bounce, or come back no such account, or account closed, and the poor people never get any winnings and are out whatever amount they paid for the "taxes" on their "Winnings".
She said it is INTERNATIONAL, so no local law Enforcement has Jurisdiction, and FBI is working on finding a way to stop it. She said never to pay money out in order to get money, from anything you get in the mail or online, it's usually a scam.