A bogus letter telling recipients they have won a contest with a chance to win big money is at the center of fraudulent activity being perpetrated in multiple states.
The letter is on forged MAG Mutual Insurance Co. stationery and implies the recipient has won $250,000 in a contest. The letter includes a worthless check for about $2,900 to cover “administrative payment and clearance fees” and asks the recipient to deposit the check and then write one of their own for the costs of receiving the non-existent prize.
Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine issued a warning earlier this month and Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher warned Florida consumers to be on the lookout for a the letter urging them to send a check to collect their prize.
Florida and Georgia are among several states whose residents have been targeted by this scheme in recent weeks.
“We are working with company representatives and other states’ law enforcement agencies to track down the perpetrators of this scam,” Gallagher said. “We will not tolerate anyone trying to steal our citizens’ hard-earned money.”
The scammers’ plan is to cash victims’ checks before the victim realizes the letter’s claims and its check are fraudulent and worthless.
Oxendine is telling potential victims to disregard and dispose: “Anyone who gets this letter or check should throw them away. Do not attempt to deposit the check, do not respond to the letter and do not send them any money. MAG Mutual is as much a victim in this scam as consumers are.”
MAG Mutual Insurance Co. posted the following bulletin on their Web site, along with a link to Oxendine’s news release: “MAG Mutual has received information that a letter fraudulently connecting MAG Mutual Insurance Company with a raffle, lottery, or sweepstakes program is being mailed randomly. This letter may have a return address from British Columbia and the MAG Mutual Insurance Co. logo printed at the top. This is a fraudulent letter and should be ignored. MAG Mutual is not involved or in any way associated with a cash award program. A check to the individual receiving the mail may be included. This is a fraudulent check. Please do not attempt to cash the check.”
“We urge anyone who may have information about this scheme to call our hotline and report it,” Gallagher said. “These schemes often prey on those who can least afford it.”
So far, one Floridian has reported receiving the letter, according to a news release published by the Florida Department of Financial Services. The DFS urges anyone who gets one of the letters to call the department’s Fraud Fighters’ hotline at 800-378-0445.
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