BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT
This writer, as well as most readers are familiar with the IRS hoax in which a so-called representative of the IRS telephones the resident in their home about a lawsuit about to commence against them by the IRS unless they make immediate payments to avoid this lawsuit. Most individuals by now have learned to ignore this false threat.
In recent days, however, the telephone criminals have come up with a new and much more sophisticated scheme involving not ONE, but TWO Federal agencies; namely THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION(The FTC) and The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY ADMINISTRATION(The NAUPA).
This scheme begins with a call from the so-called Federal Trade Commission division of Consumer Protection which claims that the resident who answers the call won the second prize in a lottery one year ago which , unfortunately, was undisclosed to that individual at that time, but in keeping with the FTC’s mission to “protect” their winnings, they would be given a code, such as 1025AB, which they should give to NAUPA through a given 800 telephone number. NAUPA will then search for this “UNCLAIMED” cash prize and make arrangements to award the money to the individual.
For the sake of privacy , an un-named Rockland Senior Citizen telephoned the so-called NAUPA representative at that 800 number and was told that the six-figure prize was located in their system and would be paid to them after their attorney(fictitious name Jack Smith)would receive a “mere” one-percent fee to process the claim which would be refunded by the IRS after the claim was paid.
The individual accordingly paid the one-percent “fee” sent to the attorney Jack Smith at a certain designated address in Rosedale, New York.
Fortunately, the overnight express mail envelope containing the designated one-percent fee was intercepted by the Rosedale Post Office under orders from the Postal Inspector because of suspected fraud!
The package was mailed back by the Postal Inspector to the victim of this fraud who further stated that he was lucky since postal inspectors are not always notified by victims in time to stop a financial loss from occurring.
A good lesson to learn from this incident is that if you are ever told that you won a prize from any so-called government agency. NEVER send any money to ANYONE. If you WIN a PRIZE, there should be “no strings attached.”!
The Ombudsman Alert is a series of columns written by Rockland Consumer Advocate Dr. Louis Alpert, formerly long-term chairman of the Town of Clarkstown’s Consumer Affairs Commission