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There’s no Sweepstakes sucker here, pal

The scammer had a second suggestion for Paul Mayberry when the Bismarck man recognized the bogus sweepstakes offer.

Mayberry didn’t fall for that one, either.

Mayberry had received a letter from SnFinancial of Louisiana. Claim Specialist White F. Lanlart, was pleased to inform Mayberry that “…our network shows you as the lucky winner of unclaimed prize money in the amount of $50,000.”

Mayberry’s name was randomly selected through a computerized ballot as the “FIRST QUARTER of 2009 Sweepstake draw.”

The ballots were “….drawn from Readers Digest, Publishers Clearing House, Online Sweepstakes, Internet Games and etc.…” Lanlart explained.

Mayberry knew as soon as he saw the $1,998.88 check from Harris Bank in Chicago that it was fishy. Lanlart wrote that the check would cover the “3.6 % Government recommended Taxes on your winnings.” To authorize and activate the check, Mayberry was supposed to contact his agent, Sean Anderson, by telephone by the deadline. He was to give Anderson the claim number on the letter. After he paid the taxes, the money would be sent to him.

“I called him and told him that nobody would cash the check,” Mayberry said.

There was no offer to take the taxes out of the winnings before they were sent to Mayberry, which is what legitimate transactions require. No offer to wire him the cash. Only advice from the scammer.

“Well, then, use it to open an account and then they’ll cash it,” he suggested.

No chance, scam man. Mayberry knows what you’re really about.

Had he cashed the check and sent the money to the “tax man,” the scammer would be nearly $2,000 richer, the check would bounce, and Mayberry would responsible for paying the money back.

Another reader is the lucky recipient of the yearly award donation from the Église Catholique en France – a total of $850,000.00.

“Your ATM cash card parcel has been deposited with FEDEX courier service,Nigeria, as you did not respond to my first e-mail address and I was traveling outside the country for 3 Months Course and I will not return until late April to contact them,” read the e-mail announcement from “I have paid for the delivery of the parcel, except for Security Keeping Fee of US$60 Dollars which they said no because they do not know when you will contact them in case of dumurrage. you will have to pay the US$60 Dollars as soon as you contact them. Finally, make sure you reconfirm your mailing address () and  Direct telephone number to them again to avoid any mistake in the delivery and ask them to to give the tracking number after payment, so you can track your packages around and know when it will arrive at your address.”

The reader had no trouble at all identifying this as a scam.

Some readers received  “Motor Vehicle Recall and Warranty Notification” post cards last week. The notices were identical except for the type of car listed. Each implied there was a recall for that car and said the recipient must call within 72 hours in order to qualify for coverage.

While real companies send these post cards, the Better Business Bureau has received many complaints that these companies send the cards only to pressure people to buy extended warranties – often for older cars.

The BBB offers the following advice for dealing with a firm selling extended auto warranty contracts:

• Never give personal information, including Social Security, bank or credit card numbers, over the phone to an unknown telemarketer.

• When considering an extended service contract or any other type of telephone solicitation, insist on getting a contract that clearly explains all terms and conditions before signing up or providing credit card or other payment information.

• Read your manufacturer’s warranty and contact your dealer or manufacturer to ensure you are not purchasing duplicate coverage.

• Consumers can place their phone number on the federal do not call list by visiting If the consumer is already on the list but continues to receive telemarketing calls, he or she can use the same Web site to report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission.

• Consumers can check out the company with the BBB at

The Daily Journal has made a commitment to keep readers abreast of scams that hit our area. If someone tries to make you the victim of a scam, call us at 431-2010 and tell us what happened. We will include your story in our scam alert series to prepare others who may find themselves in the same situation. The Daily Journal will run Scam Alert stories in the paper every Monday.

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