The excitement, Nancy Eastman said, lasted about 5 minutes.
Then the Bradenton Beach resident began to suspect the prize award — a $3,980 check she received — was a fake.
Island residents should make sure they are not victims of a scam.
The Eastmans, who make a living by transporting neighborhood residents and vacationers to the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, said the letter containing the check arrived in an envelope with no return address, only a Canadian postmark.
The letter read, “Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you are one of the lucky winners in the CUSTOMER COMPENSATION APPRECIATION BONANZA in the 2nd category, held on Friday, July 6 2010 for all customers of U.S. and Canada….”
“And the check looked so real,” said Nancy’s husband Joel. “If it wasn’t so real, we wouldn’t have taken it to the bank. We would have taken it right to the shredder.”
Nancy Eastman said they took the envelope, letter and check to the Bank of America, where she said a representative immediately spotted it as a fake.
In the letter, the author, a Mr. Kennedy Nelson, requested the Eastmans send $2,980 via Western Union to cover the tax of their $125,000 prize.
Nancy Eastman said she hopes others will not be scammed.
“I hope at least one person reads the (Islander) article,” she said, “and saves themselves a world of heartache.”
The heartache, she said, came from the emotional down when she realized the check was a fake.
“I could have easily laughed about the check and put it in a photo album,” she said.
Instead, she plans on putting the check through the paper shredder.