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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 11045
Experience:  Attorney with significant fraud prevention experience.
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Can you help me?

Customer Question

Hi can you help me?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Hi Joleen,

If you have a legal question I can answer it for you. What is your question?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I recieved a letter saying I won $100.000.00. They said to call to verify my name and code. I did. One week later, Saturday I recieved a check for $4.500. They said call for clearance and the check was to help with federal taxes. I called today. They said to cash it tomorrow. It acually is from Wellsfargo. After I cash it they said to call and they would give me the info for the fed express that would deliver the remaining $95.450.00
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

I assume you are asking whether this is a scam. That being your question, I can tell you without any shred of a doubt that it is. Specifically, this is a hybrid "lottery scam" and "fake check scam." Fake check scams essentially exploit a loophole in the banking system, which is that banks are required by law to make the funds from most checks available to the account holder immediately, even before they have verified the legitimacy of the check. Scammers know this and so draft fake checks to victims and then give the victims some reason for why they need to immediately "pay back" some amount from the check.

Essentially, the check you have been given will go through and you will then tomorrow you will be asked to send money for taxes in reliance on those funds in your account. Your bank will realize in a few days that the check is no good and take the funds back out of your account, but the money you send for "taxes" will come out of the actual money you had in your account and you will be out of pocket for the difference.

Don't be fooled. There are no sweepstakes winnings and this is just an attempt to get you to send an advance payment. No lottery or bank would EVER send you a "partial payment" up front to pay you the rest later. It doesn't make any sense from a business or financial standpoint to send you money so that you can send money so that they can send you money--and when you actually say that out loud, you'll realize how non-sensical it is.

In the next days or weeks, be on the look out for similar "too good to be true sweepstakes winnings, loan solicitations and similar windfall type offers. These will be further scams perpetrated by the same individual contacting you now under a different guise. Scammers love to double back on potential victims like this with "followup scams" in the hope that, though they couldn't trick you the first time, they will trick you the next.

In the mean time, you would be wise to immediately cease further contact with this scammer and report the matter to the local police and FBI field office. You can locate your local FBI field office here.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

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