The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


April 26, 2014

You're a winner: Pay to learn how much

A Clinton man was kind enough to share his story about the pitfalls of direct mail “sweepstakes winnings.”

The fellow received an official-looking piece of mail, entitled “Financial Entitlement Distribution.” The front side of the letter described a “monetary prize opportunity” of more than $2.3 million. The letter was sprinkled with phrases like, “guaranteed cash,” “prize disbursement,” and “monetary settlement,” and “these documents are yours to claim.”

The letter informed our informant this was a time-sensitive matter, and he needed to respond in 10 days. At the bottom of the letter, a “confirmation and claim form” was attached. This claim form informed the recipient he needed to enclose a “one-time processing fee” of $25, “to cover assessment costs necessary to release my complete set of Entitlement Papers.”

Our informant, thinking himself a winner, mailed in a check. In a few days, he received similar mail from another company, telling him of an “official award notice.” Again, the mail described millions of dollars available to him, in return for a $30 processing fee.

So he sent another check.

Let’s fast-forward a few weeks. By now, our informant is receiving three or four of these “awards” each week, from at least four different companies. Although the graphics look different, and the return addresses vary, they read pretty much the same, and communicate the same pitch — there is a pot of money available for you — just send in the nominal processing fee to make yourself eligible.

The Clinton man turned over to me 14 pieces of mail to review. The sending companies used these names:

• Worldwide Notification Partners

• Official Award Centre

• Data Division

• Sloan, Keller and Associates

And you are probably thinking, “Wow, what a scam, how can they get away with that in the mail?”

But not so fast.

Each of the letters I read contains a lot of text on the reverse side, which, if read several times, slowly, will tell the reader exactly what is going on. I read each of these, and saw the language as almost identical in each. Each of these “back page instructions” noted:

Text Only
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Off and on the record Let us now praise anonymous sources.The new White House press secretary got into a familiar old spat with the White House press corps the other day over the use of anonymous sources.Josh Earnest — has there ever been a more perfectly named White Hous

    July 25, 2014

  • Be more informed

    Blame the city.That is a favorite pastime of many, including me at times. Driving over that pesky pothole or paying that annual property tax bill can lead to some choice words referencing the city. Nobody takes the brunt of being the scapegoat more t

    July 25, 2014

  • CCC thanks community, collaborators for successful movie night Clinton Community College would like to thank those who participated in the free outdoor movie showing of “Captain America – Winter Soldier” on the evening of Friday, July 18.We are grateful to have such wonderful community collaborators in the Erick

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Akin's back again to talk of rape So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unl

    July 22, 2014

  • Sadness remains as two-year mark passes in cousins' case As most citizens of the Cedar Valley are well aware, July 13 marked two years since the disappearance of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Evansdale.The passage of time provides some semblance of healing, but the sadness, particul

    July 22, 2014

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story


With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

     View Results