Exploiting the FTC Name, Scammers Promise Phony Sweepstakes Prizes

For Your Information

In their latest effort to defraud the public, con artists claiming to work for the Federal Trade Commission are calling consumers and claiming that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes.

As the nation’s consumer protection agency, the FTC never collects money directly from consumers. But the public may be fooled, because by using Internet technology, con artists can make it appear that they are calling from Washington, DC, where the FTC is headquartered. The FTC’s name may even be displayed on consumers’ caller ID machines.

All the public has to do, according to the con artists’ pitch, is pay the taxes and insurance on their “winnings.” The caller asks that consumers wire money or send a check for an amount between $1,000 and $10,000. In reality, there is no prize, and the scammers disappear with the consumers’ money.

Real sweepstakes don’t require you to send money to claim a prize. To learn more about avoiding this type of scam, go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt099.shtm.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(FYI lottery scams)

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