A press release issued Feb. 7 from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection:
Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein, Attorney General George Jepsen and Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Dora B. Schriro today are advising residents to avoid responding to a letter claiming to be from Governor Dannel P. Malloy and bearing a replica of his signature, informing them that in return for a cash payment to cover state taxes, they will receive the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes prize of $5 million and a Mercedes Benz vehicle.
“This letter is not from any office within the State of Connecticut, particularly that of the Governor,” Commissioner William Rubenstein said. “Rather, it’s a common example of a scam letter, replete with certain clues that easily give it away as such. We urge anyone receiving this communication to ignore it, and certainly do not send money as requested. Loud alarm bells should go off anytime you are told you won a contest that you did not enter, or that you are required to pay money before receiving a prize. Those are telltale signs of a scam."
“Scam artists use a variety of techniques – some simple and some more sophisticated – to attempt to obtain money or personal information,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “This scam is particularly concerning because it uses the governor and the position of authority that comes with his office in an attempt to appear legitimate. All residents should use caution when it comes to unsolicited phone calls, faxes, letters or emails.”
"Residents should be wary of any solicitation involving personal information or the transfer of any monies either by credit card or wire transfer," said Commissioner Schriro. "We need to continue to be vigilant, as the perpetrators of these crimes know no boundaries."
The fake letter was transmitted via “faxZero,” apparently a free facsimile transmittal service, but could also have been sent to residents via email and US mail. Use of a free delivery service to communicate important information such as prize winnings may be a sign that the sender is not legitimate.
Numerous other signs identify this as a bogus message; these are highlighted on the following two pages.
“Becoming familiar with the signs of a scam are important in protecting yourself from fraud, and our SmartConsumer.ct.gov website offers more information under “Scam Signals” to arm yourself with,” Rubenstein said. “In the case of this particular letter, do not respond with a payment, or you will certainly lose your money.”