Mail-in jackpot company calls police after Call for Action arrives to ask questions
3:33 PM, Jan 30, 2014
6:25 PM, Jan 30, 2014
NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. - When an offer to win $500 arrived in the mail, Yolanda Evans was intrigued. All she needed to do, she thought, was to complete a bingo game and mail it in.
"You will win $500 if you got it correct. I did that," Evans said.
But instead of a $500 check, Evans got another letter. This time it was an offer to play for $7,000. She just needed to send in a $9 fee, which she did.
She did not win the $7,000 cash award. Instead, more offers arrived in the mail to win from $15,000 to $21,000. But as the winning amounts increased, so did the fees to pay.
Evans felt disappointed. She and her husband thought they could pay off bills and possibly travel.
"Me and my husband, we can get caught up. We can do this. We can do that," Evans said thinking of what she'd do with the prize money.
The offers came from North American Awards Center in North Kansas City. Call for Action first reported on it two years ago, also known as Opportunities Unlimited Publications.
In 2012, Ken and Cindy Walby contacted Call for Action after Cindy's aging mother kept receiving the mailings. She continued to send in fee payments to keep playing. The Walbys wanted the mailings to stop. Cindy said her mom suffered from dementia.
"She still to this day thinks some money is coming," Cindy said in 2012.
That same year, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning about Opportunities Unlimited Publications, advising consumers to be cautious when entering its contests.
This week, I returned to the company to ask questions. No employee came to the door. Instead, the police were called and asked us to leave. As of this publication, the company attorney had not returned our calls.
On Thursday, when another letter arrived in the mail, Yolanda Evans said she will do one thing.
"Toss it in the trash," she said.
The Missouri Attorney General's office said it is mediating two complaints against North American Awards Center.
"Consumers who are receiving mailings and do not want to should contact our office and we will mediate their being removed. Consumers who have other complaints should file them with our office," Spokesperson Nanci Gonder said in a statement.
The Kansas City Better Business Bureau advises consumers who get these mailings to carefully read the rules before sending in money.
The agency sent the following statement to Call for Action:
"North American Award Center also uses the name Opportunities Unlimited Publications and is well-known to the BBB. The Kansas City BBB receives daily calls from recipients of North American Award Center's mailers. Many callers believe that they have won money from the company, but have, in reality, only been invited to participate in a multi-tiered contest with entry fees at each level.
If a recipient enters the contest, they will receive mailers for the company's other contests--as many as sixteen at a time. For each of the contests, entrants must work out an advanced mathematical problem to win. The BBB advises that recipients of the mailers read the rules carefully and make sure they understand them before sending any money."