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Sweepstakes scam uses FTC Commissioner’s name in vain

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A couple of weeks ago, we told you about a sweepstakes scam using the FTC’s name to get people to send money.

Now, there’s another sweepstakes-themed FTC imposter scam, and this one lays it on thick:

It starts with a letter from a lawyer in California. He says the FTC appointed him to notify you about a claim [spoiler: we didn’t], and includes a letter from FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright enlisting his help [spoiler: it’s fake].

The letter says you entered a sweepstakes and won $2.5 million, but you didn’t claim your prize, so it was forfeited. But thanks to an FTC investigation into sweepstakes companies, you have a chance to claim your $2.5 million prize.

Sure, you could claim it on your own. Or, you could do it the “cheaper, faster, and completely painless” way — hire the firm to help you. If you read the detailed retainer agreement he wants you to sign, you’ll see it will cost you thousands. 

The whole story is made up. No prize. No FTC case. But it can be tricky to tell. The scammer includes actual FTC advice and throws in legal-sounding phrases. He really wants your money.

Some scammers tell pretty good lies, mixing in truth to make them stick. Here are some facts you can bank on:

  • No FTC Commissioner or staff is involved in giving out sweepstakes prizes.
  • The FTC doesn’t oversee sweepstakes. We do go after sweepstakes scams.
  • No federal government agency will ask you for money to claim a prize.
  • If you enter and win a legitimate sweepstakes, you don’t have to pay insurance, taxes, or shipping charges to collect your prize. If you have to pay, it’s not a prize.
  • If an FTC case has resulted in refunds, you can find the details at ftc.gov/redress.

Government Imposter Scams come in other varieties, too. Learn to spot them, whatever their story.

Tagged with: FTC, mail, prize, scam, sweepstakes
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I wanted to tell everyone that I rechecked the phone #'s and they did come from call centers of a sort, but I still believe this is a scam. When I initially checked them I didn't see the small print under the #, I only saw the words mobile phone owner further down the page. Anyone can create a "call center" to scam someone. So still watch out for these guys.

Oh Lord what a day I'm having! I just was told that those phone #'s were cell #'s after all. And now I have someone else from the bureau of consumer protection calling me saying that the last people that called were scammers and he has the correct info on my winnings. Instead of $750,000 I won $350,000 and now it's from Millennium Sweepstakes. When does it end?! No division of the FTC contacts you about sweepstakes winnings. Well here are the new names and #'s of the new scammers. From the BCP you have officer Andrew Green at 202-851-0518 and from Millennium, Ashley at 414-800-2071. He's in DC and she's in Milwaukee. Somebody please put an end to this. My heart can't take much more of this.

Hi, the EXACT SAME thing just happened to me!!! same names, same exact story...HORRIBLE. In the process of filing a complaint but not much hope on it accomplishing anything. Same phone #'s, everything. Hope you're doing better...

I just got a call this past week stating I won 2nd prize of $360,000 from Proctor and Gamble. The guys name is supposed to be George Nicholes.phone # 202-851-0462 I was extremely spectacle and told him I didn't believe him. He went on to explain that it was for real and I really did win. He also told me to be aware of all the scams out there and not to send any money via money gram or any of those places as those were scams. He also said that companies are not allowed by law to call you if you won a prize it has to go through and agency ect ect. He said that I would receive my prize certified check through a currier like Brinks or another company like that. Anyhow that was last week and I was supposed to look for my check by Wed. between 1 and 3 and that they would call me before they come. I was waiting for him at some point to ask me for personal info or some kind of fee which he never did until today the day before the check was to arrive. He said that he was looking though my paperwork and noticed that there was a fee for any amount over $125,000 and it was put into place and in the Provision of Patriot Act # 327-26 he told me to look it up. it is for a Identification Documentation REFUNDABLE Bond deposit and that I would get my money back. At first he said it was $3500 so I immediately thought, here is the scam. So I told him there was no way I could pay that and he said that there was a lending company that would pay for all but 1/2 I told him I couldn't pay that then he said well they could take $875. I told him I still could'nt afford that. SO that being said he said he would postpone the delivery for me and to calm down and do some more investigating as I him that I already called the FBI and reported him to the FTC. He said he would even talk to them as he had nothing to hide and he was legit. So that is my story. He's supposed to call me back tomorrow and I'm going to tell him to take the fee out of the money or since its refundable to go ahead and pay it and I'll give him a bonus for doing that for me.
So I already reported him to FTC and they have the info.

I RECIVE A LETTER SAYING I WON $2,000,000 and they want me to send them $12.99,after I read some of the stuff that outher people said,i think it's a scame.

Just received a call saying that I had won a prize of over 3 million dollars and that it was from a coupon that I had filled out. Caller said his name was David Foster and that the FTC would be contacting me after verifying information and would verify the info so that I could receive the monies at my bank. Also told me that somone else had called them saying it was me but he was a man and infor did not match. Did not get the number he called from but beware that this is happening.

Today I received a call from a so called, Michael Anderson.From a phone number by.281-766-3353.Stating that I had won a sweepstakes price of 900.000.00.that I was send,a letter sometime in december.from a drawing on the 7th of december.and they were wondering why I never claimed it.thats why he was calling.and the only way to get it was by paying.$275.00 dollars.because it was put in a merchant bank in jamaica.i told him why was it over there.he mention that because it would be a lot cheaper for us to get it.if it was here in the states,it would be about 6 to 8 hundred dollars more.the nerve of this guy.he told me he could help me out with $175.00.he was pushy,he wanted me to go and send money to wire to jamaica thru MoneyGram.to send it to a person named Fernaldo.and just save receipt.call him back as soon as money is wired.he will put it in system and then I could claim my money.he also told me that the house he lives in was given to him by a lottery winner that won 36,000,000,000.Dollars.i could go on and on and on.so beware out there.the guy is from Texas supposiblie.But I down it.he sound it like Indian.hindu.

When they ask for money to get my winnings I say to them "I want you to pay the up-front money and I will reimburse you $15,000 once the sweepstakes check clears". That usually results in them hanging up.

I can relate to what everyone is saying. The time these people use to scam people they can get a job. I have received calls from the 202 number as a matter of fact someone called me today saying they were calling from The Federal Bank and the bank was not even open because it is Election Day. Be careful when you get a call and they ask you do you live at your address when you say Yes they record that and use your voice and the word yes to go into your account. So never say Yes over the phone. I say to them if you know my name than you should know my address. One guy called me from the 876 number he was sick of me when I finished with him. He gave me all the information to wire him money an than he called me back. I gave him some phoney transaction number and he tried to get the money. He was so mad tell me he has been waiting at the Western Union. I told him to go back and wait I will fix it but of course I never put any money in the Western Union so he stop calling me for a while an than started again. How do you scam a person who has been born in the streets of BROOKLYN. CRAZY PEOPLE.

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