The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has issued a warning to consumers about a mail scam conducted involving an unlicensed insurance company called TD Insurance, Melohre Mannex.
“Although this company may have a similar name to a licensed insurance company, they are not registered or affiliated with FSCO or the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO),” FSCO said in a press release on Thursday, referring to TD Insurance Meloche Monnex.
The entity appears to have issued notices advising recipients that they are among the winners of a Home Phone Mega Sweepstakes Raffle. The company claims to be working on behalf of the North America Financial Clearing Services to find winners that have not claimed their winnings and to help them navigate the laws and protocols mandated by federal and state regulations on sweepstakes winnings, the release explained.
The company sends the recipient a cheque to help pay taxes, insurance, handling and shipping fees – and urges the recipient to contact the claims representative listed on the document to activate the cheque and start the claims process. This type of scam is commonly known as an advance fee fraud, FSCO warned, noting that the office addresses provided on the notices are often false locations.
“Consumers should exercise caution if they receive unsolicited correspondence advising of lottery, sweepstakes or raffle winnings, and are encouraged to forward copies of the materials received to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre,” FSCO said.
FSCO has issued several warnings of advance fee fraud scams in the past year. Last November, the regulator warned insurers and consumers about a “mystery shopper scam” being conducted by an entity using the name of a legitimate U.S. mystery shopping company, A Closer Look/A Closer Look Inc., without authorization. The company sent out letters and cheques that appeared to be from Desjardins Financial Security – Desjardins Group’s life and health insurance branch – citing payment for a mystery shopper program for Western Union.
FSCO’s website contains a list of all insurance companies and agents licensed to do business in Ontario. RIBO’s website contains a list of all brokers licensed to do business in Ontario.