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Prize scams in your mailbox

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Some scammers hide fraud in the fine print; others put it right up front in CAPITAL LETTERS. The FTC has just sued a handful of people and companies that allegedly mailed hundreds of thousands of notices with brazen lies to people in the US and other countries. The promotions, featuring phony claims like “YOU HAVE WON A CASH PRIZE!” and you are a “CONFIRMED PRIZE WINNER,” went mostly to older people.

According to the FTC, the defendants churned out supposedly personalized notices with excited messages about cash prizes of $800,000 and up. The mailers promised that a “confirmed” or “guaranteed” prize was “awaiting disbursement” to the recipient, but first the recipient had to pay a fee — usually about $25 — before the “expiration date.” The FTC says the real story was very different from the hype. There was no prize and companies listed on the prize mailers often didn’t exist. If a person replied to one offer, the defendants sent more. If someone sent money, the defendants kept it. To top it off, people who responded received more deceptive cash prize promotions from other companies that bought the defendants’ lists.

The FTC, US Department of Justice (DOJ) and US Postal Inspection Service work together to investigate and bring cases against fraudulent mail operations. DOJ’s new information about mail fraud reveals some of the names scammers use for phony promotions.


If you get mail promising cash, prizes or other riches, don’t send any money. A legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to pay a fee or buy something to enter, or improve your chance of winning. If your friend, family member or neighbor gets promotion letters, tell them about our mail fraud scams fact sheet, or — better yet — print a copy to share. If you spot a scam, please report it to the FTC.

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


I remember I've gotten several of those offers in my e-mail in the past. Some just don't give up despite my efforts to clearly not want their "services." I still get them, but is just really annoying to deal with.

I don't known what about this site but I know that all and I don't do this, thanks

Good info to pass on to others...even young adults are getting caught up in get rich schemes. Thank you!

What happened to all the Jamaican scams? Were they ever investigated?

Here's information about investigation of Jamaica based scams.

Thank you FTC.Ive been taken a few times!

Publishers clearing house scammed my Mom for years! They, through their mailings totally convinced my Mom that she was the winner. I remember her cancelling events because she" was sure that they would be coming to her house" that day!! sad face. none of us could reason with her. she also purchased hundreds of items from their catalogs(junk). We had one entire room full of un opened useless items to donate when she passed. It alway made me angry when ever i would see their foney ads!! Please shut them down!!

I have gotten those for a while, first the check cashing scam that I wasn't stupid enough to cash at my bank & be liable for insufficient funds, so I took them to bank issued to validate check & account. Sad! Free gift card cards, loans etc. Mail I have saved as the fine print always has red flags. I'd sure love it when the guy responsible is locked up... Wtf?

My eye doctor's father used his late wife's estate to "win" prizes. When they finished with him there was no money left for his children to inherit. She went to the bank to stop the payments, but since he was of "sound mind" could not do anything.

Thanks for your information

Publishers clearing house was sued by me and they were not to have contact with me but they continue to send e mails can I sue them?

You can contact your lawyer about this question.


Yes. Please shut down the the scam emails.

This article is confusing. It says, the victims were told “YOU HAVE WON A CASH PRIZE!” so the victims though they already won and now just have to pay a $25 fee to get it.

But the article then says, "A legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to pay a fee or buy something to enter, or improve your chance of winning". Are you saying no legitimate sweepstakes ever asks you to pay a fee to enter? Or are you saying no legitimate sweepstakes ever asks you to pay a fee at anytime?

The interpretations are different. I interpreted the sentence as meaning you do not have to pay a fee to enter a sweepstakes. So I'd pay the $25 fee if I was told I won like these people did but I will not pay a $25 fee to ENTER a sweepstakes. Anyone know what the correct interpretation is?

In the case discussed here, the victims got mail that said they had won a prize, but they had to send money in order to get the prize. According to the FTC, the people who sent money did not get prizes.

FTC's prize scams article explains, "it’s illegal to ask you to pay or buy something to enter or increase your odds of winning" a sweepstakes.

A legitimate sweepstakes also will not ask you to pay "taxes," "shipping and handling charges," or “processing fees” in order to get your prize.

Help me please my Identity is being hacked

You can get help at You can report identity theft and get help with a personal recovery plan. You can get letters and forms that are already filled out and ready for you to send to businesses.

I have seen almost everywhere I have gone in the social sites ads for USCCA, telling us to "click below" and you will see that if you buy Tim Schmidt's USCCA self protection using a firearm which costs about $147.00, I have never seen nor heard an advertisement for any of the sweepstakes the FTC has brought action against. The USCCA however you can not escape. Anywhere you go that the USCCA is, Mr Schmidt is offering a gun if you just buy his course for $147.00. I thought it to be wrong to tell people if the just buy "this full of experts for $147.00, you can enter a contest for a gun" worth less than what is being charged for the course.It's a blatant request for payment for something before you can enter the contest for a gun, or the money to buy a gun. I am definitely supporting the 2nd amendment, but I'm sick of someone trying to get me to pay money up-front before I can enter a contest for a gun. I'm writing this here because someone is stopping me from filing an account through the FTC. Every time I try when it comes time for me to write a narrative I am not allowed contact with anyone connected with the FTC. So, this is what's happening, I hope the FTC is able to use this to prosecute them.

The USCCA does have gun giveaways as you described. I am not a USCCA Member. In the rules section for the Gun Giveaways it is stated clearly NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY and a link is provided for anyone to enter. My only suspicion is: how many nonbuying people win guns?

Thanks for email me.

I have written a complaint about a scheme to sell product to people by offering them the opportunity to win the cash they will need to buy the firearm of their dreams. The problem is in order to enter the contest they must buy $147.00 of product from the person operating the "contest" The reference number for my complaint is 7679xxxx.

I have received letters and emails telling me I won a price of sorts. There are some subscription magazines doing the same. They go as far as sending you pamphlets and letters making very convincing you won some type of huge prize.

In the end there is no prize or anything. All it is, is a Scam to make the "victim" think he won some money and thus he can buy some subscriptions or products he does not really need. The whole thing here is only to get you to buy things from them.

One time or another some of these companies print a brochure showing a winner. Apparently the chances of winning something are fewer than winning a nation wide lottery.

When you get this type of mail simply discard it and move on with your life. If you want to get rid of some extra money buy some legitimate savings from your local bank or broker. This way if in the future you need some money for something it will be there for you.

Yeah tell me about it I got those fake letters to said you won such and such amount of money but you have to pay before you can get it so we can get it to you for shippingand handing fee and I spent a lot of money thinking it was true but I believe the one who payed money should be entitled to some of the law suit money and boy I sure could use it for sure I would use it for my kids

Thank YOU

I wish there was a do not send junk mail to my address. I live in an apartment bldg. with approximately 11 apartments most of the residents there just throws there junk mail on the ground, they and we don't want such mail and it is just littering up our property. also another problem is that our postal carriers cannot seem to put the junk mail in the correct mailboxes, after repeatedly talking with the postal carriers and the post office they seem to have an excuse a mile long to make sure we never get our own mail only every one elses in the the bldg.

just got commissioner of judging processing division award notification commission
it says I won $1,325,000 I only need to pay $11.89 to get it , procession office/distribution center po box 2905 Kansas city, ks 66110-2905

I am getting mail like this everyday. I have one from thinkriches to payout 715.00 but can't access the website to get my money. Not only that but several sweepstakes has also done the same. Winloot, rewardtz, n etc. If u have won why do I have to pay ate buy something for a reward the day I've won.

I f you get mail promising cash, prizes or other riches, don’t send any money. A legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to pay a fee or buy something to enter, or improve your chance of winning.

I want to sue publishers clearing house how do I do that

Can youhelp me i am so tried of this nasty junk on my text spam. So much come on my phone help

hi I got ,4 or 5 emails from winloot saying my name is confirmed ,you've won, plz open ,but then rest of message does not seem like it mat hez start and I have all these daily emails saying thankyou for your payment ,automatic payment starts message off and all over 6 7 maybe 8 hundred pound thankyou for payment received in your account ??? I've had literary hundreds past few weeks and I entered the free lotto game paying ,,,14.99 for the fast service ,I've contacted winloot had email avknowledgement yesterday but nothing sincen

This was in my e-mail:

Payout Balance: Use It or Lose It!

This alert is to inform you that up to a $800 payout still awaits your movement. Move through the instructions below to confirm it before time runs out.

✶ Confirm $800 Balance

1200 Route 22 East
Suite 2000
Bridgewater, NJ, 08807

Unsubscribe me from future mailings. ---------I AM SKEPTICAL

Can i get paid

Winloot emails me daily saying ive won but I have to play all 30 games in the next 5 min to be eligible to collect, and they send the email at 5AM.

My complaint against Award winning Prize 2017of GooMobile is pending till now.

Can u please help us to stop all scamers i got scam it says i won thousand of dollars just need to pay the registration fee i paid but still i did not get any of those money ..

Is the global cornsontium prizes at email true...?

How to get my reward is my address banned?

My e-mail are full of them but they want you to do a survey a silver gold and platinum then at the bottom it says powered by sailthru

I just received a mail that I should place a gift draw game which I did,I eon 22850$but I was asked to pay 6$ to cash out d money I sent a comment DAT if d money is real,it should be deducted from d money they want to give me but wow it was a scam cos I searched for The name of the winning draw online and its not there,PRIZE @ EMAIL pls don't fall victim oooo

I have gotten those and I'm 12 guys this is a serious problem and it needs to stop.I Just got 1 and they do that to get personal gain out of your loss.I have about 12 of them in my mailbox this very second about YOU JUST WON A MILLION DOLLLARS FREE guys come on nothing is free.

I got this webpage called bonus mail and i have lost $100 . the money was credited and the message i got to my mobile mentioned was www. reg. com. is that a way that i can get my money back??

I had received a message by mc Affe company known as email prizes 2019. After play the ques the party demand to us $35 USD rupees then I think this is fraud & fake type organisation.

I got a msg that says I have selected for my email prizes 2019 ,,,after that I have to play a lottery games, so I played and have won 21075 $,,,in order to get that I have to pay 34 $ ,,,is this a fraud???

I'm always getting this and I didn't know it was a fake I wish it was real why do people be a con artist to others that's not right

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