We’ve all heard about the Nigerian scam letters, the requests from various banks to update our information online, even from the IRS and Canada Revenue that we’re getting a refund on our taxes. Some of these are more than the “Dear Beloved” letters requesting to transfer oodles of dollars through your bank account. Really, it’s amazing how much money is just floating around through the world for our benefit. I’ve seen many of these. I delete them all.
I’ve been thinking of going on a trip lately, sometime this fall to Europe or Asia. So when I found a a letter sent from Malaysia I was intrigued by the stamps and wondering what it could be. I don’t know anyone there.
When I opened it, it was a travel brochure, very glossy and professional looking, from Tovar Travel.
This is a four-page foldout with a sexy yet healthy looking woman on the cover, beautiful turquoise beaches, palm trees, white sands, lawn chairs and amazing rock formations. Everything that speaks Asia at its best, relaxation and appeals to those of us in North America freezing our tushes off in springtime. (Okay, not you southern folks, but it’s still exotic, right?) Very bright, glossy and professional looking. Hmm, a travel brochure for a company. Okay, I’ll take a look to see what they have to offer.
As I began to peruse it there was something about a lottery, with a scratch and win ticket inside. Who doesn’t love a scratch and win? I didn’t even read what the lottery was for but scratched the two tickets inside. One is blank and just shows a plane. The other shows I’ve won $150,000 USD. Oh my god. I’m a winner. I’m rich. I can quit my job. Woo! But wait, there must be a catch. I read the fine print. They won’t disclose my information, I may have to pay taxes in my country, I must give them my name, age, address and call. Of course the one clause that says “Prize winners may be obliged to submit taxes or any other mandatory charges as a result of the award,” is a bit worrying. After all, what is a mandatory charge for free contest? Hmmm.
I didn’t bother wasting my money on a call. I’m a bright girl and did a few cursory searches of the internet. What I found: well I wouldn’t use Tovar Travel for travel nor for winning the lottery. Lucent Tours is always the same thing. Don’t go there. There were only 2 (according to the brochure) second place prizes of $150,000. The internet shows that many people have won that prize. Many. And those that contacted the company have to pay $3,750 to release their winnings. I’d tell them to just deduct it from the $150,000. The winning card, as you can see below, looks like it’s sponsored by real companies, like Panasonic, but I bet if you contacted the companies they would be surprised of their involvement. I think this just goes to prove, if something is too good to be true then it probably is. Darn, this means I have to keep working.