Utah officials are warning the public of an international mail fraud scheme involving a bogus letter said to be from Nationwide Insurance. The scam has spread to 10 states, according to the Utah Department of Insurance.
“We have not as yet received any complaints of this nature,” reported Utah Insurance Commissioner D. Kent Michie. “However, it is important that residents be made aware of this scheme.”
Residents in 10 states have received counterfeit checks bearing the Nationwide name. Each check has been issued in the amount of $4,500 and has been accompanied by a letter which informs the recipient that they are the winner of a $150,000 “Consumer Promotion Draw” organized for consumers who shop in major stores in the US, Canada and United Kingdom.
The letter goes on to explain the $4,500 check has been issued to cover the “Non-Resident Government Tax” the consumer will have to pay to a British Tax Officer, according to the department warning.
The individuals generating the correspondence and counterfeit checks have no affiliation with Nationwide Insurance and are fraudulently using the Nationwide name.
In order to receive the $150,000 prize, recipients are told they must cash the check and then forward $3,750, by Moneygram International or via a Western Union Money Transfer, to an address located in the United Kingdom. While residents are provided with an 1-866 number to call, they are urged to keep the matter confidential until their claim has been processed.
The warning says individuals should be leery of “advanced fee scams” such as this, as they stand to lose a great deal of money.
It advises that individuals:
Be skeptical of any correspondence offering you the opportunity to win a large sum of money in exchange for specific information.
Be leery of checks received from companies you do not do business with. The check is most likely fraudulent.
If the name of a well known company is noted on the correspondence received, contact the company to verify the legitimacy of the letter.
Be wary of sweepstakes or contests that require you to send money to a P.O. Box, a drop-box or an overseas address before you can claim your prize.
Individuals who receive or have receive one of the checks can contact the UID Fraud Division at 1-801-531-5380 or the Nationwide Customer Relations Department at 1-800-882-2822
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