7 On Your Side:East Texan Not Falling For Sweepstakes Scam - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

10/23/06-White Oak

7 On Your Side:East Texan Not Falling For Sweepstakes Scam

At first Theresa Musick thought she struck big, after getting this letter in the mail.

"I was the grand prize winner of one million dollars," she says.

With it was this check, paid to order in her name, for $4,900. First she called the bank listed on the check. In fact, it was a local Longview bank called Telco Plus Credit Union.

"I spoke with [Diane] Hollis who is the president of the bank. She said, 'No honey I'm sorry to tell you this is not a good check,'" says Theresa.

"I've been hurt here emotionally because my wish was to get my father out of the nursing home and take care of him."

Theresa's emotions turned to anger. So she called the Canadian phone number on the sweepstakes letter, pretending she wanted to collect her prize.

She taped the conversation. Here's the reaction from American Consumers Sweepstakes Lottery when she called back.

TM: "My name is Theresa and I have received one of your um... lotteries."

ACSL: "You got the letter!!"

TM: "Yes."

ACSL: "Great! When did you receive it?!"

TM: "This was on yesterday."

ACSL: "It was on yesterday okay."

Now comes the push to deposit the check.

ACSL: "We sent you a check for $4,900. Do you have that check with you right now?"

TM: "Yes I do and I couldn't believe it!"

ACSL: "When are you able to go to the bank? Can you go today, Theresa?"

TM: "Yes sir. I can't go, but I can have someone go deposit it for me."

ACSL: "Okay, no problem. Because what I'm going to do is go ahead and authorize the check for you because it is a certified cashier's check. There is a certain security feature that is on the check, where we can allow you to draw the money the same day."

The scammer goes on to tell Theresa, she should keep this transaction personal and confidential. After another push to deposit the check, she's given specific instructions.

ACSL: "Have your sister go the bank. Deposit the check and take $2,500 out immediately. Give her my phone number and I will explain to her where she can send the money to. So take $2,500 out in cash. With the remaining $2,400 you'll have in the left over check, that will be paid at the door when they arrive to your home with your million dollar check."

Theresa comments to KLTV 7, "I think they are probably the lowest form of human beings that I've ever met in my life."

The Longview bank whose checks these scammers unlawfully duplicated isn't happy either. Telco Plus Credit Union says it is not at all affiliated with this scam. The FBI has been notified of the case.

"If you throw it in the trash, nothing is going to get done," says Theresa.

Making her case public, Theresa encourages others to do the same so one day these scammers can be brought to justice.

Telco Plus Credit Union says it has received dozens of calls from people who received the same bogus check and sweepstakes letter. If you're one of them, the bank is asking for the paperwork so they can forward it to the FBI.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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