George Adwell, North American Claims Agent for American United Sweepstakes Association, talks proudly about the international company operating out of New York, NY.
Adwell, with his smooth East Coast accent, spoke of how the Award Claim Final Notification process works and how the selected people must call immediately to begin the process of claiming (in this case $500,000) the award.
The accompanying check, from Alcocer Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, is a “sponsor” check and the sponsor wants the award claimant to use that money to help pay for processing fees.
“We’ve operated for 22 years now, here in our New York office,” he proudly says.
He explains there are 35 people in the office, working with Paul F. Eilers, Director of Claims. The association has offices in America and Europe.
The association has worked with Reader’s Digest, Publisher’s Clearing House, computer gaming and Internet submissions to coming up with the award claimants. Each person selected for the award is given a claim number, which should be confidential. The names were selected through a computer ballot system.
“I need the recipient to call me immediately with the claim number, and we can begin to process the award,” he says. “Have her give me a call, we are legitimate.”
The American United Sweepstakes Association is not real. This scam is a new variation of an “advance fee” scam, in which people are contacted and informed of sweepstakes winnings and eventually told that they need to pay a “processing fee” or bank transfer fee to receive their winnings.
The Alcocer Inc. s CEO said in a phone interview that this is the second time his company has been used in this scam.
“You should see my desk,” Edward Diaz says. “We’ve notified the FBI and gotten our bank involved again.”
He says the company was hit four to five months earlier with this same type of scam.
“When it first happened we were trying to figure out what was going wrong with our bank account. It’s miserable that it’s started again,” he says.
The sweepstakes letter was sent to a woman in Nyssa, Ore., who took it to her friend, Kim Speelman, with Field-Waldo Insurance Agencies, in Nyssa.
“She remembers that she does do Reader’s Digest stuff but thought this was weird as the envelope was post marked out of Canada,” Speelman says. “Also, she received three calls asking her if she received the letter.”
Internet browser searches did not find an exact match for American United Sweepstakes Association, but there were several similar names reported as scams.