Friday, December 6, 2013
Then I called the telephone number from the check; it was an answering machine with a demonstrably foreign accent. I left a message. Next I Googled the business name and learned that the "business" is owned by Larry Cohen and has 1 employee and the revenues last year were $50,000. The phone number from that site was different than the number on the check. I called that number and the voice of "Larry Cohen" was on that answering machine. I asked for him to call me.
I called our local Sheriff's office and the person showed no interest in taking any information and told me to call the Attorney General. The number I was given by the local Sheriff's Department was for the wrong department; I went online and found the correct number to call. I was instructed to mail all of the items and what I'd learned.
Of course, I never heard from the first number nor the second number I'd called; however, I received a call from the Missouri Attorney General's personnel, which impressed me a great deal.
Of course, I recognized it as the scam. Other "elderly" people might fall for them.
I had a client who sent out at least 5 sweepstakes entries weekly. He actually believed the sweepstakes offers he received were legitimate and he donated money to nearly all of them. He had been giving $10.00 a month to one organization. I went online and showed him that only 1% of the revenues went to any cancer-related organization. On one offer in particular he showed me a letter "guaranteeing" a win. I said, "Read the fine print; it says IF your name is chosen", but the proof did not phase him; he was certain he would win and kept donating; I told him I would bet him $1,000 that he would NOT receive the check. (Boy, I would have been sorry for that one IF he had won!)
He even kept submitting entries in his late wife's name, and told me that his attorney had told him that he could receive the winnings. I told him, "That would be only for ones she submitted before she died." He sincerely believed that he could continue entering in his wife's name and receive the money!
I went online and showed him that the only legitimate one he was donating to was St. Jude's; all the others were just money pits for unscrupulous con men. One organization had 5 different scams in its organization: one was for Kids With Cancer and four other cancer-related "sweepstakes"! My client was donating to all of them. When I showed him that the CEO was being paid nearly a million dollars, and that the donations had been only 3 million; and that 98% of the funds were for "overhead". As a former businessman, the client finally realized it was a massive scam. He did quit that one but there are at least 10 others to take its place.
He obviously has money to burn. I calculated that he spends more than $200 per year in postage and more than $2,000 in donations to the sweepstakes scams.