Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC are warning the public of a second fraudulent sweepstakes that has appropriated the companies' identities. Working with law enforcement officials, the companies have uncovered the second scam in less than a month to distribute prize letters and fake checks to consumers across the country.
The companies -- which first warned employees, customers, and other consumers about an initial fraudulent sweepstakes scam on March 24 -- have now been alerted to a second round of similar fraudulent activity. The parties responsible for the second scam distributed award letters and fake checks to consumers through the U.S. Mail, claiming that recipients were winners of a global monthly sweepstakes. The letter provides a phony reference number relating to the claim and urges recipients to cash the enclosed checks and call a non-Bendix number to find out how to claim the remainder of their monetary prize.
"The illegal and inappropriate use of our corporate identity is very unfortunate," said Anthony LaPlaca, Bendix's general counsel. "Bendix and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake are in no way responsible for, or associated with, this activity. Although these documents may appear to be authentic, it is vital for the public to know that the award letters and the checks used in these activities are fraudulent."
Bendix is working closely with the appropriate federal, state, and local legal authorities in their ongoing investigation of this matter. The company continues to respond to calls to its facilities throughout North America from recipients of the letters. The number of consumers who have received the letters is unknown, but Bendix confirms that individuals from across the United States have reported receiving the fraudulent sweepstakes mailing. Recipients are not limited to those in the commercial vehicle industry in which the companies do business.
The latest fraudulent checks include both the Bendix and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake logos and display the "Mellon Bank" name. The checks accompany letters printed on fake letterhead for "Asus Financial Inc.," a company that does not exist. An example of the new round of the fraudulent sweepstakes award letter - along with copies of the initial scam materials - is posted on the Bendix Web site at www.bendix.com.
Bendix advises recipients of the fraudulent mailing to follow these guidelines:
-- Do not call the numbers provided in the letter.
-- Do not attempt to cash the fraudulent check.
-- Alert your local authorities that you have received the fraudulent mailing.
-- If available, send copies of the fraudulent documents to Bendix for use in the investigation. Documents can be sent to the companies' headquarters, c/o the Bendix Legal Department, at Bendix Commercial Vehicles Systems LLC, 901 Cleveland St., Elyria, OH 44035.
The Mail Fraud Statute of 1872 made it a federal crime to use the U.S. Mail to further a scheme to defraud. According to U.S. Postal Inspectors, most victims of prize or sweepstakes fraud never report it to the authorities. Even so, inspectors report that nearly 2,000 suspects are arrested each year for mail fraud.
"If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is," LaPlaca said. "Close scrutiny and continued caution against this type of damaging activity can help protect innocent citizens from becoming victims of fraud. We appreciate the assistance of savvy consumers who made us aware of this new scam outbreak, giving us the opportunity to issue a warning to others. It is unfortunate that our companies' identities are being used in this manner, and we hope consumers will question and research this scam before falling victim to it."