Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I won the Canadian lottery! (or did I?)

This came in the mail.

You may notice it is addressed to Al. Al is not a real person, but telemarketers don't know the difference between a pair of initials and a name. Neither do scammers.
Note the postmark, eh? www.canadapost.ca Yeah, it would have been really suspicious if they had mailed it from New Jersey, it being the Canadian lottery and all. Of course, you have to wonder how much gas they burned driving up there with a couple pounds of envelopes. They had to have gone at least as far as, well, the canuck side of Niagra.
But why did I say New Jersey? Did I pick that state out of a hat? No, I pulled it out of the envelope.

Yeah, too bad Al isn't a real person. But if he was, he'd be a sucker to try cashing this. But I'll get to that later. And weird how the Canadian lottery draws on a bank in New Jersey, huh.

There really is an Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission but the only way to win that is to enter, not be randomly chosen out of non-existant list of credit card holders. ("Yeah, Visa? Gimme your list of customers. Excuse me? Do what to myself?") NO lottery works that way. Poor Al. Someone stole his credit card. Oh, yeah - he's not real. They must have pulled the name out of the phone book.
Note the request for secrecy. Yeah, because if someone blabs, the jig is up. Poor, poor Al. Now he'll never get his money from a lottery he never entered. But at least that $2625 is a consolation, right? Or is it the whole scam?

Ah, it's a partial award, to cover the "cost" of claiming the prize. The cost of claiming a $75,000 cash prize happens to be the same amount of the check. Funny how that worked out, eh? Note the admonishment to go to your bank and not the post office. Yeah, because after the clerks at the post office stop laughing at you for being a sucker, they'll either tell you to contact the AG's office (Who only care if you were successfully scammed. And then they'll put you on hold so they can have a good laugh.) or take it as evidence in their ongoing "investigation". (Which consists of passing around the latest scam letters and laughing their asses off.)
Do note that they keep calling the check an international money order. But it's a check. There will be a quiz at the end, so don't forget this detail.
So, how does the scam work? Well, if you follow the instructions, you've sent off a payment to them. To cover the "costs". But that's okay, because they sent you a partial award to cover it, right? You'll be sending them a money order. A real money order. Covered by that check you got, though, so it should be okay, right?
Once they get the money order, your bank calls to tell you that the check you had deposited was no good and could you kindly return the money, plus fees, thank you.
Poor Al. At least he doesn't have a bank account, and can't get ripped off by these scammers.