On Your Side Alert: Mailing offers free BMW - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

On Your Side Alert: Mailing offers free BMW


A viewer contacts 12 On Your Side after receiving a suspicious offer in the mail - claiming they had won a luxury car or the cash equivalent. What should you do if the offer shows up in your mailbox? We got some answers from the Postal Inspector. 

A fancy new BMW or over $65,000, it's what a letter told a viewer she had waiting on her. All she had to do was fill out a from and mail in $20; a check or credit card would work, the letter said.

Postal Inspector, Michael Romano says if you see this or something similar, red flags show pop up. A big concern, the viewer was supposed to mail that $20 to the Netherlands!  

"You are never going to receive anything back and $20 from you, and $20 from a lot of other people adds up," Romano said. 

Even inspector Romano admits this one looks legit. But he says don't be fooled by the official looking bar codes or legal disclaimers. The sender is just after your cash and personal information.

"If you start handing out that more personal information, it most assuredly is going to lead to an identity theft situation, or you will have your bank account breached electronically," Romano explained. 

If you get one of these strange offers, you can always file a complaint with the United States Postal Inspection Service. And if you are wondering if there is any chance it could be real? Inspector Romano has an answer.

"It is not likely at all. The most likely thing that will happen, if you send that $20 is you are out $20. And if you have given out your personal identifying information, it would definitely be time to contact your bank and run a free credit report," Inspector Romano says. 

The reason these bogus offers keep popping up is because people still fall for them and the crooks can make some quick cash. There also may be an explanation about why you seem to be a target.  

"Subscribing to certain things, whether it's free magazines, periodicals sweepstakes at the grocery store, you have to really watch what the third party disclaimer is," Romano explains. 

If you replied to the offer, try to stop the check and if you shared credit card or banking information, alert your financial institution. Here's a look at some of the most common postal schemes: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/pressroom/schemealerts.aspx

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