Your local BBB is warning consumers about a sweepstakes scam involving fraudulent checks.
A Sebring, Ohio resident contacted the BBB serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia after receiving a letter from D.C. Financial claiming she had won $650,000 in a Canadian sweepstakes. The letter stated the resident would need to pay a non-residential tax and could use the enclosed check for $3,800. The letter first stated the tax was $3600, but later stated the tax was $2600. All the lucky winner needed to do was contact her claim agent, Edwin Gibson, prior to depositing the check in order to activate her claim. The letter also stated as part of security measures, the winner is strongly advised to keep the letter away from the public to avoid multiple claims.
Upon further investigation, the BBB found the zip code used in the company's address of 5430 W Russell Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89230, does not exist and upon calling the two phone numbers given, the BBB received messages stating the numbers were not in service or assigned. BBB also contacted a local branch of the bank the check was drawn on and was affirmed the existing bank account has had several fraudulent checks deposited.
"It's illegal to play a foreign lottery," said Frank Cilona, President of the Better Business Bureau. "Any letter or email from a lottery or sweepstakes that asks you to pay taxes, fees, shipping or insurance to claim your prize is a scam."
Your BBB offers the following tips for sweepstakes and lottery scams:
For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, contact Kimberly Thompson at 330-454-9401.
# # #