Received letter in the mail with Canadian postage (note:sent regular mail--anything this important would be sent certified). Along with the letter was a check to cover "Non Resident Government Service Tax". (note:Canada is not required to pay taxes on any type of lottery or sweepstake winnings). I did some research...see below:
In a new twist to an old scam, Canadian and other international lottery scams are now using bogus cashier's checks made out to the victim to collect upfront fees. Other scams using fake checks include work at home offers to "process payments" or do "mystery shopping" by depositing checks and wiring funds to a location outside of the U.S., and overpayment scams where an individual claims to have "accidentally" sent too much money for a transaction (these often target sellers through online auctions or businesses) and request that the extra funds be deposited and returned to the buyer with the item (in this case the seller is out all of the funds and the product).
In the lottery or sweepstakes scam, the consumer receives a letter stating he or she is the winner of several thousand to several million dollars in an international lottery. In order to collect the "winnings" the victim is required to pay an upfront processing fees and taxes - a common ploy of international lottery scams. In this version, though, the supposed lottery includes a cashier's check for the consumer to cash to pay for these fees.
Consumers who deposit these checks may find they initially appear to be valid, but later find out that the company whose information was used on the "cashier's check" had their information stolen. The consumer then has to pay bank fees, and the money they've wired to the foreign lottery is long gone.
Before being tempted to take the bait, ask yourself, if the organization has the money to write a check for the consumer, why have the extra step of sending the money to the consumer then having it returned? Consumers are reminded that one should NEVER pay money to win a sweepstakes. Legitimate prizes do not come with processing fees, and taxes are paid directly to the Internal Revenue Service after winnings are collected.
Additionally, in Canada, there are no Canadian taxes or any other fees to pay on lottery winnings, and winners have to collect in person, in Canada.
The only lotteries which are legal within the United States are official state-run lotteries. Foreign lotteries violate U.S. Postal Service statues, though they may not violate the statutes of the country from which they originate. Foreign lottery solicitations should be brought to the attention of the U.S. Postal Service.
Many claim to be from outside of North America, but consumers are directed to contact a Canadian phone number for instructions in how to claim a prize