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Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams

April 28, 2017

Sweepstakes scammers call, email, or text consumers congratulations on winning a lottery, drawing, or sweepstakes, which the consumers usually have not even entered. The scammer asks the "winner" for an upfront payment to cover processing fees or taxes. In another variation, the scammers send a letter with an authentic-looking, but phony "Claim Certificate" or "check" as an advance to pay the winnings. Bankers are generally aware of the scam and how to spot phony checks. But if you deposit a phony check, the financial institution might hold you responsible for repayment of the entire amount of the fraudulent check even if you sent some of the money to the scammer.

Once it is apparent that no winnings are forthcoming, the victim may receive another call from a person claiming to be an attorney representing sweepstakes winners. In exchange for an upfront fee, the so-called "attorney" offers to collect the winnings on behalf of the victim. Needless to say, the "attorney" is actually an associate of the original scammer and there is no chance of recovering the original loss or the fraudulent fee that eh fake "attorney" charges.