Verizon has issued a warning that a mailing that appears to be affiliated with it falsely informs consumers that they have won $750,000.
The company notified law enforcement agencies late last month that the letters state that to collect the prize, consumers must first pay a $3,200 “processing fee,” Verizon said. Each letter contains a fake $4,500 check “to trick consumers into believing that they will be more than reimbursed for the fee,” the company said.
The checks appear to be issued by Verizon and that “Verizon Financial” has authorized payment.
“Verizon is in no way responsible for these letters and has no connection whatsoever with this phony sweepstakes. The letters and promises they make are a fraud designed to trick unwitting consumers into sending money to the unknown parties sending the letters,” Verizon said.
Another twist to the scam is instructions in the letter that tell the recipient to call a “claims agent” to claim the promised $750,000, a likely attempt at illegally collecting consumer information, Verizon said.
Verizon is not the only company currently alerting consumers and officials of fraudulent mailings.
Publishers Clearing House alerted consumers two weeks ago about fraudulent sweepstakes mailings that claim to be from PCH, Oprah Winfrey and O Magazine.
The mailings include what appears to be a real check, but the check is bogus and consumers are asked to wire money back to a false address.
Some consumers have been told that the check is an advance on a sweepstakes they have won and that once they wire some money and cash the check they can expect their millions to arrive in the mail. (Promo Xtra, Aug. 26, 2008).
Consumers who received the mailings were encouraged to contact law enforcement or consumer protection offices.