PWC Financial Informative - Nigerian Scam - Warning

Review by Starlord on 2008-02-13
FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA -- I received a letter on the letterhead of PWC Financial, a Division of PW Commission, Fayettteville, NC. The letter came with a check enclosed for $3,950.00, which was supposed to be a partial payment of prize monies in the total amount of $54,000.00. This money represents prize money from unclaimed prizes drawn from such sources as Reader's Digest, Publisher's Clearing House, Online Sweepstakes and Internet Games, etc.

I was directed to call a telephone number and activate/authorize the check with a claim number. Upon authentication, I was told to deposit the check, and to call back when the bank cleared it. I was made suspicious by several things in the body of the letter, not the least of which was a high number of typos, and the fact that the3 phone numbers given were not in North Carolina, but in Alberta, Canada. I contacted the USPS Security Division, and was informed that they had run into this letter and check before, and that I would be told to send a good portion of the $3,950.00 to an address to "take care of the taxes," and I would never hear from them again.

I called the phone number this morning, and was told I had to send $2,900.00 to another address, to take care of the taxes on the prize total. I asked the person I was talking to if he was in Lagos, Nigeria, and he asked what that had to do with this procedure. I informed him that the check was counterfeit, based on my investigation.

When you call the area code 403 numbers in the letter, Area code 403 is in Albert, Canada, while Fayetteville, NC is 910 Area code, and I am confident that any call to those numbers rings through to Lagos, Nigeria. PW Commission, and one name on the check go to the Public Works Commission in Fayetteville, NC. I tried contacting them, without any response. What would a rural Public Works Commission be doing handling prize monies in a contest?

Watch out if you receive one of these letters. the check is counterfeit, and if your bank does erroneously clear it initially, it will come back on your and you would be held liable for it. The next step would be sending the lion's share of the money to the scammers in Nigeria.

Thank you.
Comments:11 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-02-13
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-13:
Why does anyone think for ONE SECOND that a total stranger is going to give anything to another total stranger? Tip: There is nothing free coming your way. Not from anybody or any company. You never WIN anything. Learn this.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-13:
Agreed, good post and info. It's sad how many people are taken by this scam every week.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2008-02-13:
It's amazing that people still fall for this. It has been widely publicized in the last 2 years. But it seems to still work.
Posted by FoggyOne on 2008-02-13:
A big problem is that the bank cannot tell if the check in counterfeit until it goes through the entire collection process which (I think) can take weeks. So the depositor thinks it is valid - sends off the money to some unknown person - and months later the bank wants their money back and the depositor is liable to be arrested. See the two posts above.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2008-02-13:
What I do find disgusting is that the banks are aware of this scam and do not warn their customers what may happen. I think the banks know if they keep quiet about it they are setting up for the returned check fee. More profit for the bank.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-13:
Great post Star! I was always told growing up that nobody gives away free money, if someone ever tells you you can get something for nothing, you've been had by the snake oil salesman. The shame in all of this is that it's the people who really need that kind of money fall for this. And the bank doesn't know that it's a bogus check until it goes through. The banks know about this, and yet they do nothing to stop it. Why? Is it because they want to collect the astronomical fees associated with the cashing of these checks?
Posted by Starlord on 2008-02-13:
Thank you, Princi. the check was very good, it had all the watermarks and other earmarks of a legitimate check. Anyone would have been fooled by the check. As far as the presmise, I can understand a drawing or sweepstakes to give unclaimed prizes to someone. However, my experience with big companies is that they would never allow a letter out of the office with a bunch of typos. Combine that with the problem with the telephone numbers, but the biggest tippoff to me was that the awarding of prizes in the thousands of dollars would be handled by a back-country public works commission. What would a commission whose task was to fix county roads know about big money sweepstakes?
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-13:
What would have made me doubt this was the typos and the public waste department. Public waste wouldn't give out cash prizes. I honestly believe the check was as legit as any other check that a person gets from work, insurance refunds, etc. The problem is that once they realize the typos are giving people the heads up to the scam, they'll use spell check so it will look even more legit. The only way to not get scammed is to read the letter and do the research. Like with the discrepancy in area codes or the fact that they claimed this was from the public waste department.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2008-02-13:
Just using plain common sense should protect you. How could you win something when you never entered any contest?
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-13:
What Chuck said. You need nothing more.
Posted by lisa on 2008-02-13:
I remember a year or so ago, something similar had happened with Saks Fifth Avenue. A customer got a letter with a check to cash, but they had to send us back some amount...obviously it was a scam.
I also experienced a telephone scam. Somehow, this person with a heavy accent (definitely not American) called from the IRS, wanting to send me money. She wanted to verify my information. I told this person that if she had my cell phone number, she must have my address there. I tried to get her to verify the information with me. She would not, so I finally hung up with her.
I may be blonde, but that doesn't mean I am stupd LOL

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