This is one of the worst scams I have seen in a long time. What hurts the most is it targeted my elderly Mother, who tends to enter all the mail-in contests she receives in the mail.
Sounds to me like the crooks have researched "dead" accounts and business names so a quick research on the internet may cause someone to think they are legit. But if you know who to ask and where to research, you can get past these crooks.
Unfortunately, this scam actually had a check enclosed that looked VERY authentic and convincing with a well-known bank name, Wells Fargo Bank, on the check. Fortunately, Wells Fargo has a fraud reporting system on their website, so things like this can be reported so their legal eagles can deal with these crooks!
I talked to the business division of Wells Fargo regarding mail fraud like this and they were able to verify the account and router number on the check. [continued below]....
..... It was an "inactive" account, so there's no money in the account. This means, the check would have bounced if my Mom had deposited it. IT'S A SCAM PEOPLE! The man instructed me to take the check to my local branch, tell them what happened and they would take care of it. This will most likely put an "alert" on that account.
The letter was from Pacific Coast Financial Services, with an address in San Clemente CA. If you research this name with the state, you will find the business was "suspended" and the owner was David Bridgeman. But his name doesn't appear anywhere in the letter. The letter claimed my Mother had won 2nd prize in the USA Mega (then the English and grammar starts to get iffy) and it lists a serial number and five lucky winning numbers and then it says that she's won US$450,000.
My Mom can't keep track of all the contests she enters, so she is the perfect "victim" and got so excited about running to the bank to deposit the check (amount of $4,685). But the catch was she was supposed to send the crooks a processing fee of $3,950. More RED FLAGS!
The check enclosed was from a Matthaeis Camco, Inc, PO Box 249, Sweet Home, Oregon, 97386. Upon researching that name on Oregon's corporate division website, this so called "corporation" doesn't exist! Stinks of SCAM, doesn't it?
BEWARE PEOPLE - these scams will continue to come up as more people get desperate and greedy and have no morals regarding taking advantage of innocent people like my elderly Mother!