I received a letter from PRM Financial claiming I won an online drawing with the prize totaling $57,000. The letter claimed all participants were selected through a computerized ballot system drawn from Reader's Digest, Publishers Clearing House, Online Sweepstakes, and Internet Games. Obviously to cover a wide range of people who may have participated in something from one of these many sites. I was directed to keep my claim number confidential and to call Becky White at 1-514-572-4135 to claim my winnings by May 15,2008. At the bottom of the letter it says that PRM is a division of Pioneer Corporation.
Enclosed was a real check with a real account from Alpine Bank in Colorado with Pioneer Ridge Managements name and logo from the website on it, not PRM Financial. The check was printed for $3922.75. When I called the number in the letter and very blatantly said I thought it was a phishing scam I asked exactly where my name was pulled from; the very thick latino accent on the other end (whose name I just could not catch) repeated almost verbatim the info in the letter. He told me to deposit the check and call him so that he could tell me where to go to pay the administrative and clearance fees for my winnings. I said yeah right and hung up.
Naturally i was skeptical and did some research including pulling up the websites of both PRM Financial and Pioneer Ridge Management. PRM claims it is a debt recovery company and offers the Encore Credit card as well. I called and it was not answered so I left a message, which has yet to be returned; on Rosa Velasquez voicemail. Pioneer Ridge Management's website was for vacation rentals in Steamboat Springs Colorado. I did not bother to call them.
So then I went to Alpine Bank's website, called the bank at the 1-800 number that was listed and proceeded to verify funds in the account. the account was real enough but there was not sufficient funds to cover the $3922.75 check. So then i chose the option (this is an automated line just like any bank) to speak with someone and informed them they had a customer who was using there account for a phishing scam. The woman I spoke to transferred me to the Fraud department who was aware of the situation. She asked if I could fax any correspondence from them, I said no but I can scan and email it. I scanned the letter and check and emailed it to Lesley Munoz at Alpine Bank in Colorado.
In order for people to be prosecuted or at least to even think about prosecution, they need some sort of proof. If this happens to you at least call the bank and see if they are aware of any scams concerning any checks sent to you unsolicited. If they are try to fax or email All correspondence. If they aren't make them aware by telling them you have received a letter and check in xxx amount from xxx account with xxx company name and you think it may be a phishing scam.