Western Mass family warns of scam - WNEM TV 5

Western Mass family warns of scam

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MONSON, MA (WSHM) -

Jim and Karen O'Toole say they've never won anything in their lives.

That is until Thursday, when Jim received a letter in the mail stating he was the winner of a $50,000 cash prize in a drawing that took place in the United Kingdom.

"There was a check with it, and it looked like a real check," said Jim O'Toole

The check was written out to him for $2,437, so he could pay the $1,450 non-residents tax on the prize.

All Jim had to do was wire the money to an account.

"You know, it sounded too good to be true," said Jim.

Too good to be true, because there was just one problem. Jim had never been to the United Kingdom.

He said he showed the check and letter to his wife Karen, who has worked in the banking industry.

The couple took a closer look at the letter.

"The more I looked at it, the more flaws I could see with it," said Karen O'Toole.

That's when the red flags started popping up.

"There's no personal ID on the letter. The address label on the envelope looked like it was prepared on a computer. There's no letter head. The only thing that's real is the check," said Karen.

Checks like the one made out to Jim could be purchased at any office store.

The check and letter have the same address, but the names are from two different businesses.

Written inside the letter, there is a phone number and two contact people, Paul Anderson and Malie Frank.

CBS 3 dialed the number and reached a man who said he was Paul Anderson. He was willing to help me cash the check.

When Paul learned I was a reporter, he hung up.

The number was dialed again, but this time it was no longer in service.

Jim and Karen say they wanted to get the message out to others, who may fall victim of this scam.

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