I had recently received a letter "Final Notification" from R. J Financial Services... Which stated that I was picked out of 598,000 entries and won jack prize of $380,000 divided equally among other winners... Which entitled me to a sum of $38,000.
A check for $3,800 was enclosed in envelope with no company name but PO Box 9004 Buffalo, NY 14201... And the stamp is Canadian... Which I now noticed.
I had unwittingly deposited the check after calling the number listed:
1-905-598-6207 and spoke with a claim agent (Alloy Hofer or Donna Set)...
I spoke with a Donna Set who instructed me to deposit the enclosed check of $3,800 and call back once the check cleared my account. Then I will be given instructions to pay the 'luxury tax'.
Several days later, I called the number listed and spoke with same female who stated that her computer was down and to call back five minutes later... During which time I decided to check on the legitamacy of company... When I asked claim agent Donna if this was a hoax. She stated the company and check were both "legit". Upon my search via google on R. J Financial Services... I ran across the Rip off link... Which made me very nervous.
When I called claim agent again... I informed her that I did a background on the company and there were claims stating that this is a fraudulent company and consumers are being taken advantage of... She replied she was unaware of such information and will notify her manager. I asked her for contact information which was provided to me of her manager/supervisor: Danny Tomeson 1-905-598-6214.
In speaking with said "manager/supervisor" I informed him of my misgivings and that I wanted to cancel my claim and return the money... He provided me with an address that was not the one listed on the letter and when I questioned him further... He stated that this was the process for returns... This was a RED flag... As luxury tax was to be sent as a moneygram to an individual named: Amy Bradley in CA and once submitted I was to call back with reference # and then the rest of my winnings would be sent to me via FED EX.
I emphasized to the "manager/supervisor" that I did not want to proceed with my 'winnings' and wanted only to return the check... Was provided the following address:
310 Layton Drive
Ontario, CA 92011
And to send the amount as a cashier's check. Again, I questioned him stating that I was being required to submit payment to a location differing from the originator... At this point he became a bit hostile and indicated this was the method for returning the check and provided me a fax # once cashier's check was sent: 905-248-3888
After call, I immediately contacted my bank and informed banker of situation. I was instructed not to pay directly to the company in any method. The bank will continue to check legitmacy of deposited check and once found fraudulent... They will reverse the amount deposited.
I must admit I was almost a victim because I did in fact submit various online surveys for 'lotto'-type drawings... So I thought this was the 'real' deal. If it had not been for my, more skeptical, family members asking me to check whether this company is legitamate... I would have been another victim.
I hope others who may receive similar letters will first verify the company and do a little investigating prior to depositing or accepting any payments when supposedly they have 'won' a cash amount. I have learned my lesson... Almost the hard way. I hope others will not fall victim to such frauds.
I wish there were more laws protecting consumers from such companies who prey on the financially struggling.