Fraud Warning!!

At approx 11:20 this morning I received a phone call from a person claiming to be a “Mr.Jack Toronto” he gave me his contact number 1(876)561-9270 and wanted to know if I had received a prize notification in the mail or by phone lately from publisher’s clearing house.

Of course I had not, so Mr. Toronto was overjoyed to tell me that I was the newest winner of the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes and had won the significant prize of $ 2.5 Million and a 2012 Mercedes Benz (personally I would have preferred a Maserati..but meh, I could live with a Benz if I had to).

He wanted to know if I would be home to receive my prize (like you see on TV) but sadly (I lied, it is my day off but) I told him I would be leaving for work shortly. He wondered if I had time to do one thing before work to help facilitate the transfer of the prize…COULD I GO TO WALMART AND GET A WESTERN UNION TRANSFER!!!!

I knew almost instantly when I started speaking to the person on the phone it was going to be some kind of a scam…now I knew how it was going to play out…so I went along with it to see where it would lead.

I was asked to get a money transfer for the amount of $199 addressed to Mr. Arvell Varnett/Barnett (I couldn’t tell exactly which one he said, but I just kept writing anyway) Palm Coast, FL, 32164.

Mr. Toronto explained I needed to do this soon so they could have everything set up to give me my “BIG CHEQUE” just like on TV and I had to call him right away, once I had done the money transfer.

Of course the first call I made was to the police. They are very helpful in these types of circumstances. They took the details and sent out an officer to make sure they had their info correct.

Officer Males was very polite and although I imagine there is very little they can do but file the report (since I didn’t make the money transfer, at best I suppose its an attempted fraud) He didn’t make me feel like I was wasting his time.

I made it clear that at no point was I even thinking about sending the money, my concern was that others may be down on their luck and really want to believe something like this could be true, and fall for this scheme.

In the last hour I have also e-mailed the police in Palm Coast, FL. since that is where the money was supposed to go to, and called Western Union Fraud division.

Western Union said this was a known issue, and didn’t seem to be shocked or all that concerned really. I don’t know what I expected. I guess I hoped they would want to involve me in some sort of a sting operation to get these unscrupulous scoundrels, but I guess in the whole scheme of things they have bigger fish to fry.

Although a big take down of international fraudsters would have been very exciting, I have a huge pile of laundry to fold, a very very messy house, and facebook games to play…I really can’t fit that into my schedule today.

If you are contacted in any way (phone, email, at the door) where you are asked to pay to receive a prize, or a bonus please be cautious and call the police non-emergency phone number (519) 631-1364 even if you are smart enough not to fall for a scam, reporting it allows the police to keep track of these types of things and issue warnings to the public. You may be able to save someone else the hardship or embarrassment of falling prey to one of these simple yet effective schemes.

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