While carefully worded to avoid complete misrepresentation and seeming perfectly legal, this mailing is ambiguous enough that, if not read carefully, it will mislead the addressee and convince her/him that she/he has won a huge pile of cash and that - after sending back a signed document along with a $19.99 check - a 'prize/monies' report will be delivered to her/him.
In fact, this report will inform you that you have entered Sweepstakes A, B, C, etc. and that the tally - IF YOU WIN - is in the amount of $xxx,xxx,xxx.xx
Of course, after cashing the 'reporting fee of $19.99 which is the only fee', your signature and bank account information will be available for forgery and identity theft.
While the mailing is too wordy to quote verbatim, below is a short description.
I received an envelope bearing the mention 'Locate to Deliver' in bold uppercase and other official-looking features, such as:
'USPS Secure Mail sent under strict delivery protection. Direct Delivery to residence'
'Div. Office 8Jt-'
'Office of Preparation - Important Enclosures contain Typed Papers regarding the Individual Intended now on Record' (sic)
Inside was a colorful 'Prize Data Document' from the 'N.P.R.C. Main Office', bearing security features such as those found on bank notes or bank issued checks informing me that a 'Service Agent' had made 'all preparations for Delivery' to me of 'Prize/Monies Entry Data in the $ Amount as Reported'.
In my case, the amount was $1,250,000.00.
A cover letter, signed 'J. Reitman/prize Data Release Officer', informed me that: 'all we need from You for delivery is Your completed Delivery Document Attached, please Sign, and be sure to include the Attendant Reporting Office fee of just $19.99'
On the back of the cover letter, buried in various disclaimers, warnings about unpaid checks and other legalese, is the mention that: 'This communication is not a sweepstakes or award notification and does not guarantee that you will in any sweepstakes.'
A reply envelope, as colorful and official-looking as the rest, but not bearing any mention of N.P.R.C. or J. Reitman, goes to a different address in another locality:
P.O. Box 9109
Bethpage, NY 11714-9101
Pawtucket, Rhode Island