New Mail Scam Hits Central Valley

May 14, 2009 12:29:14 AM PDT
Thieves are once again trying to get your hard earned money. The Better Business Bureau in Fresno received a steady stream of calls Wednesday from people receiving letters that claimed they had just become millionaires, courtesy of Pepsi and the ABC Television Network.Audrey Davis of Coarsegold immediately tore up a letter. She also destroyed the $5,400 check that came along with it. "I've never entered a contest so I knew I couldn't have won anything," said Davis.

The letter claims that the recipient was guaranteed a million dollars and is now eligible to appear on prime-time T.V. for a chance to win a billion. Davis knew better and called the B.B.B in order to warn others. "$5,000 dollars sounds like a lot of money. Maybe they would fall for it ... especially if it has a company like Pepsi and ABC. You think, 'maybe it's real?' Who knows?" said Davis.

Doug Broten with the B.B.B. says this type of scam is very common. Here's how they work: Letters claim you've won money and check is included. Later, someone will ask you to cash the check and send some of the money back. By the time the bank figures out the check is fake, you've been ripped off. "What will ultimately happen is the original check will bounce. This is a very common scam we're seeing, the checks look very real," said Broten.

83 year old Virginia Morgan of Fresno also got one of the letters Wednesday. "I hadn't entered a contest to win any money, so ... it's silly," said Morgan.

Morgan also knew better because she's heard the horror stories too many times. "I've heard about old people losing everything they had, that's terrible!" said Morgan.

There were a couple Pepsi Billion Dollar Sweepstakes in the past. The last one was five years ago and there were never checks mailed to the public.

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