COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Columbus man, who asked to remain anonymous, received a letter late last year, declaring him the winner of the “International general survey market draw,” entitling him to the sum of $500,000.

Included with the letter was a check for $4,990.90, which, according to the letter, was deducted from his winnings to enable him to “pay for the tax, insurance, shipping and handling.” To get the winnings, he would have to call his claims agent.

Instead, he called Better Call 4, because things just weren’t adding up.

First, the postage on the envelope is from Canada, while the company named in the letter has a P.O. Box in Baltimore, Maryland, and the check comes from Commerce Bank in Kansas City.

There are also several spelling and grammatical errors in the letter, which is common among scammers, according to the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB also provided a graphic with the elements of a fake check, which looks similar to the one the man received:

  • His check comes from a healthcare company. Why not a lottery commission? 
  • The check number in the top right corner does not match the number on the bottom of the check. 
  • The routing number doesn’t match the routing number for the real Commerce Bank, which can be found through a quick Google search.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) also offers information about this type of scam and said if our viewer had called that “claims agent,” he likely would have been asked to cash the check, then wire the funds to cover the taxes and fees, taking thousands of real dollars from him, and giving the scammer the money they wanted all along. Thankfully, our viewer did not respond.

As a reminder, if something appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. And if you receive a letter like this, report it.