I fell for this the first time but will not fall for it a second. I received a letter informing me that I had won 2nd prize in the second category of the USA Department Stores Sweepstakes Lottery held on June 29th, 2012. The form letter stated that I had won $254,685.00. They enclosed a check in the amount of $4,685.00, which had been deducted from my total winning to help pay for the processing fee of $3,940.00. I was instructed to contact my claims agent David Morgan at their Los Angeles CA phone number during business hours before taking the check to the bank.
Two months ago I received a congratulatory form letter basically stating the exact same information. Although the form letter had stated that their business hours closed at 4 P.M. in my excitement I dialed the number and was directed to take the check to the bank and then call him back. I only had fifteen minutes to get to the bank before closing. My husband drove as I tightly held the check and form letter clutched in my hand and recounted the conversation with the somewhat rude man on the phone. I might not have fallen for it except that he had asked me if I wanted to keep the news of my win confidential or if I wanted the press notified for a press conference. I have attempted to win in such lotteries by mail and on the computer several times a week so it was not out of the question that I could have won. The Claims Agent noted that I requested a press conference.
Once we reached the bank I left my husband to park the car while I hurried in to deposit the check. I didn't keep the news of my win confidential as directed by my Claims Agent, rather showed bank teller both the check as well as the form letter. The teller called over the bank manager and it was then that I was informed that it was a fraud.
The scam goes something like this. The winner deposits the check from the Financial Agency, calls their Claim Agent back. The Claim Agent then verifies the deposit. Instructs the carrier to bring over the winning check for half a million dollars. Before you can take possession of the winnings you must give them their Processing Fee of $3,940.00. They hand you another bogus check for the $250,000.00. They cash your check immediately but before their checks clear the bank they are long gone with your hard earned money and their check you had already deposited bounces.
Fortunately, the bank manager would not allow me to deposit the first check. I was humiliated and embarrassed to have fallen for such a scam but did not lose any money. Nor did I call to scream at the phony Claims Agent. I was surprised that the bank manager didn't encourage me to report the form letter and fraudulent check to anyone. A sting operation could have easily been set up to bust these guys when the private courier showed up at my door with said fraudulent check.
Today, I received a form letter stating perpetuum the exact wording as the form letter from two months ago. I might have gotten my hopes up and died of embarrassment the first time but will not will not go through that a second. It is after business hours on a Saturday so instead of calling my Claims Agent David Morgan at 1-778-991-1391, I took the time to look Shaw Financial Incorporated on the internet. Fortunately, there were two other complaints against the same group. They had also received the exact same notice and check through the mail. I now know to contact the USPS and file a complaint from reading their posts.
The other offices listed on the form letter are listed below.
Head Office: 305 Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
African Office: 3445 Olivia Road, Cape Town, South Africa 2000
Spain Office: 144 Western Avenue, Malaga, Spain 28001
England Office: 2269 King Edward Road, London, United Kingdom ET8 6CT
I really could have used this money too. I want others to be aware of this scam so that they are not taken advantage of, ending up going into the hole in their bank account thus causing what could have been a dream come true falling from the heavens turn into a nightmare from hell.