Guess what, you didn’t win a sweepstakes

The letter said the “Mega Million Sweepstakes” was held Jan. 15 but some of the winners could not be located after several attempts.

The letter is a notice that a Alicia Valenzuela of Rockdale won the sweepstakes and a check for $4,450 from Barrio Foods is enclosed.

What action is needed now? Of course, the next thing is to get the enclosed check safely in the bank.

Not all of it belongs to Alicia, but in order to send $3,400 via Western Union or Moneygram, as the letter requires, for taxes, the check must be deposited.

A tax agent, Ricky Thompson’s, address is given in London, United Kingdom.

Claim agents are Kevin Martin or Holly Webber in the 604 area code, which is in Canada. The letter states that the lucky winner contact one of these prior to depositing the check.

Alicia called the number and Kevin Martin identified himself, congratulated her and the process for completing the transaction was set in motion.

The endorsed check is presented to the bank teller. The check certainly appears to be authentic, so all is positive until the sad news came that the check was not legal.

The fake check was supposedly on HSBC Bank. Its customer service number is 1-800-975-4722 for those that got similar opportunities and would like to report them. The discovery, that this was a scam, avoided the $15 fee charged by the local bank.

Now disappointment sets in. All the dreams of how the money would be used shattered and anger sets in. The natural reaction is to get your hands on these thieves or at least give them a piece of you mind.

Some action should be taken to release the anger that builds up inside a potential victim or a victim.

Kevin Martin, or whatever his real name is, and the crooks with him will not care what is said to them or about them.

Here are some facts to review. The tax agent is in the United Kingdom, the claims agent is in British Columbia, Canada, and the HSBC is in New York City.

How much time and money would it take to investigate this scam. The bank is not involved and the names used are not actual names either, and no money was lost by the potential victim, so no crime was committed.

What law enforcement agency would have jurisdiction over these matters? Then think realistically about the job they have to investigate serious crimes and the need to assist victims that have lost considerable amounts of money.

Con artists stay just outside the law feeling safe with their “nickel and dime” operations. Alicia could have lost $3,400 for the wired tax money, the cost of sending the money to the United Kingdom, and possible fees.

You can google in “Holden Financial Services” and find other cases like the one reported here.

Names, telephone numbers, banks and the amounts of money are different, but the scams are the same.

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2010-06-24 digital edition

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