New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

Consumer Protection & Antitrust BureauDon't Cash That Check! Contracts Disguised As A Check

How would you like to receive some free money? Sound too good to be true? – it is.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Consumer Protection & Antitrust Bureau has received information that New Hampshire consumers are being sent checks in the mail, made payable to them, which they are being encouraged to cash or deposit. The amounts range anywhere from $2.50 to $15.00. What is the catch? By cashing or depositing these checks, a consumer obligates himself or herself to payments in the future, sometimes for many years, for some kind of membership or service, unless he or she cancels with the company which sent the check. The check is actually a contract to purchase services, magazines or other membership. By signing the check and cashing it, the consumer is accepting the terms of the contract.

Although the terms of the further monetary obligations are often disclosed in the paperwork received by the consumer, either in the letter or on the back side of the check, or both, many consumers do not thoroughly read all the documents they receive. Many consumers find themselves committing to a future monetary obligation that they are unaware of and which continues until they take some action to cancel it. Many consumers sign the check on the assumption it is a rebate for something they previously purchased. Sometimes a business will receive the check, and deposit it with other checks received that day.

Consumers are urged to carefully read everything they receive in the mail before taking advantage of these "too good to be true" offers.

The bottom line: Ignore all mail and phone solicitations for foreign lottery promotions. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit Federal Trade Commission's website or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261, or call the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office of the Consumer Protection & Antitrust Bureau at 1-888-468-4454.

New Hampshire Department of Justice
1 Granite Place South | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658