It's easy to unravel this scam
Wow! I won!
I just received a "Prize Claim/Final Notification" letter from Creek Financial Services in Oxford, England, informing me that I was one of 20 winners of a "Mega Lottery." We winners would share equally a $3 million prize. That means I'm entitled to $150,000.
The letter even told me my winning number, which I didn't know.
Oh joy! Oh happy day! What a thrill! I just won a lottery I never entered. Now I wonder why I ever purchased Pennsylvania Lottery tickets that never won anything. Perhaps if I stop buying them I stand a decent shot at hitting the jackpot.
The letter was accompanied by an actual check for $3,990 drawn on the Bank of New York Mellon, and the check was a Safeway Inc. check, which, of course, is the huge grocery store chain.
Having never shopped in a Safeway store, I am not sure why they were sending me money, but what the heck.
The letter said the check was to be deposited in my bank account in order to pay the government taxes on my winnings.
But first I must phone Lloyd Lewis, the "claim agent."
Not that I doubt the letter's truthfulness, but I did a little research, and here's what I found.
When you call Lloyd Lewis, if that is his real name, he asks for your claim number (mine is JD/HGH-0202). He next directs you to deposit the check into your bank account, and then to wire the "tax," $1,995, to a tax agent in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
After that's done, Lloyd tells the "contest winner," that a cashier's check for the remaining $146,000 will wing its way to their home.
Naturally, the $1,995 you wire to Dubai comes out of your bank account immediately, while the $3,990 will not be credited into your account until the check clears. On that same day there will be world peace, cows will fly and we will all ride to work on golden chariots pulled by unicorns.
It's a scam. I know it, and I know you are all smart enough to know it. (Then again, if you were that smart, you wouldn't be a regular reader of this column.)
But just on the off chance that a few of you out there think this sounds like a heck of a deal and how can you get in on it, let me stress a few points.
The first fact is very simple. If you have never entered a Mega Lottery in England, you cannot win a Mega Lottery in England. Or anywhere else. Understand?
Secondly, a real indication that a letter naming you as a lottery winner might be a scam is when it arrives in the regular mail in an envelope with no return address.
Also, it will not include a check for a few thousands bucks that you must deposit into your bank account in order to pay "government taxes."
There will be no overseas taxing agent to contact. If you legitimately win cash in a lottery, our own taxing agency, the Infernal Revenue Service, will contact you.
So if you think riches come from winning lotteries that you've never entered, or having some guy in Nigeria offer to cut you in for helping him get millions of dollars out of that country, you are living in La La Land.
Speaking of living in La La Land, I also just received word of a "News Summit in Paris this week, hosted by the Global Editors Network (GEN)."
The email from Uli Karg, who sounds like the villain of a new "Star Wars'' movie, said if anyone from my "media is visiting the conference as well, we'd be glad to set up a short meeting."
I'm sure my bosses will let me attend.