Tis the season for scams

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The letter arrived at our house this week — “You are the 3rd GRAND PRIZE WINNER for the Readers Digest Sweepstakes; your total winnings are $150,000.” Even better, the letter had a check in it for $3,086.75, “which covers insurance, handling, duty and taxes fees,” and a number to call to arrange to deposit the check, and pay the servicing fee to receive the full $150,000 jackpot.

Luckily, I had read about the scam a couple of weeks ago.

As snopes.com explains, the letter is a classic scam: The scammers send checks to their victims, and tell them to deposit the check and send the sum to an agency that handles the transfer, either for fees associated with preparation of the paperwork or to pay taxes associated with the win. The checks bounce after deposit, “leaving the suckers out the value of the fees they mailed off to those running the con. … And yes, cashier’s or certified checks can bounce.”

In hard times, many people want to believe they have finally gotten some good luck. The scammers are out in force — be careful out there! (And if you have young or old friends who may not be as savvy as you are, please pass on this message.)

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