We received a question (name withheld):

My mom received a letter from Pepsi and ABC. One thing that caught my
eye is the fact that the logo on the letter looks like a photo copy of
a cheesy Pepsi logo. Another key was the fact that in the letter it
states my mom just won 1 million dollar and has a chance to win 1
billion dollar
. They sent her a check for $5,400.00 to pay for
traveling expenses to fly to NY to play for the big dollars (1
billion), but in the letter it says “Pepsi c and the “c” next to Pepsi
and ABC has a circle around it. Isn’t Pepsi and ABC supposed to have
“tm” next to them? Another issue on the fine print of the check it is
all in Spanish
. We took the check to the bank and the bank states that
it “looks” like a real check. They provided a 866 # to contact a
Representative and we have been calling every day leaving messages, but
no one answers or returns our calls. Any info on this?

This is a scam, and these are some facts:

1) Pepsi and ABC do not run lottery. If they do, you won’t be the first to know via a “mail”. Any company that runs contest would like to publish such events on the main newspapers and websites because it is part of publicity. They would not “quietly” send mails all over asking people to “come and make money”. It is likely “come and LOSE money”.

2) If you receive a check in such cases, the check is a fake check even if they look “real”. Even if the bank is not sure about this, you can ask if you can try to bank it in, without incurring a fee in the event that the check really bounced. If the bank insists that if the check bounce, you will be charged by the bank, then we do not see any reason for you to risk it. We don’t believe in checks from unknown or suspicious sources into the bank.

3) One good thing that you did was to call and check. However, some scammers may even answer the calls and that does not imply that they are legitimate. The best way is to contact the company directly, e.g. in this case its Pepsi, so check out Pepsi Official address on the website and call them up. There is no need to contact the people who sent you the email, who would obviously tell you that it is real. Anyway, we do not think there is a need to call to confirm, as we believe this is a scam. You are not the first person to receive such packages. Others who did and replied have already lost their money. It is smarter to learn what others have failed, rather than to try it out and become another victim.

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