Beware of sweepstakes scam - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Beware of sweepstakes scam

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March 8, 2006

Berrien County - Last month, Mary Ray thought she was a millionaire. "We were going to do all kinds of good things with that money," said Ray.

In November, she received a letter encouraging her to enter the United Kingdom’s National Lottery.  "I got a letter in February saying I won 3.5 million dollars," said Ray.

Sounds to good to be true, but Mary thought there was no harm in pursuing it. She called a number on the letter, and a man told her the check was on the way. "He had a very convincing, almost alluring tone," said Ray.

But instead of getting her 3.5 million dollar prize in the mail, Mary got a letter saying her money was stuck in Canadian customs, and to get it she needed to pay three people $2,500. "First they said it was to pay taxes and then they next letter said fees," said Ray.

They even sent Mary a $7500 check to reimburse her for those costs, but she didn’t fall for it. She took it to her bank to see if it was real. "She said my goodness, if this is a forgery, its really, really good," said Ray.

Good, but counterfeit. Luckily, Mary caught on to the scam before she sent the money. Now she wants to warn others before they fall victim. "Unless its Publishers Clearing Hours or an American thing that’s well know, they need to put it in the trash," said Ray.

And even though she didn’t strike it rich, she’s glad she saw the truth before she lost out. And after sharing her story, hopefully others will too.

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