Secretary Galvin Warns
of “Service Tax” Scam

(On May 27, 2008)

Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin warns Massachusetts citizens of a recently-surfaced scam that offers the promise of a $250,000 sweepstakes win but seems to be a scheme to obtain personal financial information.

People have reported to the Securities Division of the Secretary’s Office that they have received letters with a $4,620 check in them with instructions to call a “service tax” agent and provide financial information. The check is supposed to be used to pay a “non-resident government service tax.” The check appears to be fake.

“By holding out the prospect of big winnings in a sweepstakes,” Secretary Galvin said, “it appears the perpetrators of this scam hope to entice people into providing financial data that would place them at further risk. Unsolicited notices like this should always raise an immediate red flag.”

This current version of the scam purports to come from Newfoundland, announcing a “compensation draw” for the “Sweepstakes Association of North America.” The tax agent has a St. John, Newfoundland address, but the claims agent lists contact times in Pacific Standard Time. The enclosed check is made out on the Wells Fargo Bank of Michigan with a non-existing return address of Brazier Inc., 125 Rock Street, Marguette, MI 49855.