British Columbia Lottery

I have always enjoyed getting mail.  When I was a kid, I used to spend my summers on a ranch operated by my sister's husband.  It was located in an isolated area of north east Washington and had few amenities.  The big event of the day was when the mail carrier came by.    I would run down to the mailbox and gather up the mail.  There always seemed to be something exciting in the box, be it newspapers, magazines, catalogues or even advertising circulars. It didn't matter to me what I found, as long as it was something. 
I would look at unopened envelopes the same way that a child will at times look at unopened birthday or Christmas presents.   Opening the mail engendered feelings of curiosity, anticipation, and certainly a sort of joy.
I am using the past tense.  In truth, I still feel the same way now, when ever a letter carrier brings us gifts. 

"Claudia" said I, "we have mail! Look, there is a letter to you from Canada."

"Who is it from?" asked my wife.  "Is there a return address on it?"

"No," said I.  I held the letter up to the light.  "All it has is a Canadian stamp and postmark."

"Why don't you open it up?"  Asked I with a big smile on my face. "That way we can find out who it's from."

"When I get around to it," said my wife, with a slight grin. (My wife knows how to get to me)

"It might be important," said I.  "It could be from our friends at the University of British Columbia."

"I don't think so," said my wife. "We don't have friends at the University of British Columbia.   She reached for the envelope and carefully started unpeeling it.   She looked into the envelope and unfolded a letter… what appeared to be a check fluttered to the floor.

"It's a check," said my wife.

"How much?" Asked I.

"$2,274.67" she replied.   "According to the letter, we are one of 25 winners of the British Columbia Lottery.   It says that we have just won $85,000 (US).

I looked at the document and it was beautiful.  It colorfully displayed a Vantown Lottery letterhead, and the enclosed check was a marvelous thing to behold.  The check was printed on special security paper with a black light visible water mark.

The letter instructed Claudia to cash the check and deposit it in "…the financial institution of her choice."  The letter further informed her that a non-resident fee needed to be remitted to their designated Regional office in North America for final processing and fund transfer. 
The letter concluded with a warning "Contact the above stated office for activation and verification of your claims. 
And be advised to keep your winning confidential until your claims has been processed and released to you"

"Wow," said I. "We've won a lottery!"

My wife was less than enthusiastic.  "Did we buy a lottery ticket?"


"It's a scam," said my wife.  "They want us to send them money, and they want access to our bank account."

I stared at the fancy check.  "It sure looks real.  You don't think we could just cash this check?"

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