Last night, I arrived home to find a FedEx envelope on my doorstep. Actually, it was a plain white envelope with a FedEx label affixed to the front of it. It was rather thin, and I didn't recognise the return address, so I carefully opened it.
Inside was a letter on A4-sized letterhead (not typical American 8.5"x11") from "EuroLotto" in Barcelona. It claimed that I had won second place in a sweepstakes that I had entered online, in the amount of $940,000. Not too shabby! I am always entering drawings online, so I was glad one of them finally paid off.
Also inside was a "European Union Tax ID Application." The letter went on to state that I had to pay EU taxes on the full amount, but it could not be deducted from the $940,000 (Red Flag #1). So, they sent me a check for $4500.00 to cover the taxes. All I have to do is deposit this check, and write a check to their "law firm handling the sweepstakes for winners who are US residents" (Red Flag #2). Then I looked at the check. Its a real check, with all the security features like watermarks and color-shifting ink, but it looks like one of those QuickBooks "print-it-yourself" type checks (Red Flag #3). And it is written on an account from a construction company in Kentucky (Red Flag #4).
So I'm thinking what will happen is, I deposit this check and it goes through, and next month when this construction firm's accountant is reconciling their checking account, they find this check that they didn't write, and now I'm in hot water for forgery, meanwhile the check I wrote for $4500 is good, and now I have to pay off the construction firm, plus any legal fees I have to incur.
But its all worth it for $940,000, right?