I received a letter July 02, 2008 notifying me I was one of the lucky winners of a sweepstake sponsored by a group of multi-national companies in North America. My name attached to the sweepstake numbers ##### drew the lucky number which consequently won the 2nd category. The letter states I am entitled to the sum of $180,000 US Dollars which is my total prize money and that all participants were selected through a random computer ballot system drawn from over 500,000 names from the Federal Computer Data Bank. To expedite the processing, enclosed was a check of $4,365.98 US Dollars, which has been deducted from the winning. I am to use $2,800.00 from the check to pay for the applicable Surcharges/Govt.Tax Due on my winning. No personal information is required from me (i.e. bank account, credit card no., SSN). I was instructed not to attempt to use the check until I call and speak with Cynthia Lin @ 1-647-869-2165 for activation and further clarifications. The letter was signed by Linda Whitfield, Client Care Manager.
A disclaimer was also added to the bottom of the letter that they're merely a disbursement company for organizers of the sweepstakes.
I tried calling several times only to get a message the recorder was full. Since the check looked real I called the bank the check was drawn on (Commerce Bank in Philadephia) and gave them the account number to see if this was an active account. It was. I then again tried calling First Capital Solutions and the person who answered said it was okay for me to deposit the check. I was, however, instructed to go to a tax agent and pay the $2,800 due in taxes. The agent in turn would complete a tax form and sent it to First Capital Solutions showing my tax obligation had been met and they would then send me the remaining winnings. Yeah, right!!
So this is how these crooks obtain your SSN and commit identity fraud!!