A popular Internet scam that once filled e-mail boxes has moved on to postal boxes as con artists abroad are becoming more creative at finding ways to fleece the public.
Carson City Sheriff's Detective Bob Motamenpour said an area man turned over to police a $6,758 check issued in his name from a group identifying itself as "Global Trust Fund & Financial Services." The accompanying letter exclaimed the recipient is "this year's million dollar sweepstakes winner."
The catch? All the "winner" has to do is deposit the check into their account and within the week wire back "60 percent of the money," to cover insurance, legal and document fees. Once those fees are paid, the "winner" is to receive the remainder of their booty. Although the letter claims to come from Bellvue, Wash., the envelope's postmark is from Canada and recipients are urged to call a Canadian phone number "in order to receive your grand prize."
Motamenpour said the way the scam works is the fraudulent out-of-state checks take 10 days to clear. Recipients are told they have seven days to pay the fees or the prize is void. By the time the banks discover the check is bad, the cons already have their money and the victim is left holding the empty money bag.
This is a variation of the Nigerian scam where e-mails would be sent out en masse claiming a lottery was won or an inheritance was available. In the end they all have the same catch - send us some money and we'll send you some money.
"If you are not sure about where the money's coming from don't even consider cashing the check," Motamenpour said. "If it seems too good to be true, it is."
-- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.