Sweepstakes scam uses FTC Commissioner’s name in vain

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


Thanks...and we citizens need help with the robo calls that are overwhelming us. We need stronger legislation to curtail the Direct Marketing Association and other lobby groups attempting to overwhelm our privacy.

My telephone carrier, AT&T refuses to initiate action to prevent scammer calls to my phone line for the FTC's previous 'anti-robo call' award. Now the FTC has initiated another 'award' program to discourage robo-calls. Why doesn't Congress just 'force' the telephone companies into obeying 'anti-robo-call' countermeasures that the FTC has awarded?

This company called me tonight about 10:00 pm saying that I won all these money, prizes as well cars & all I have to do is give them my personal info. They also stated that there were from the FTC in LasVegas Nevada & gave me this phone number# 1-702-623-5589, saying that I get all this for free that, I won this in some contest that I never enter into or sign up for, but says that they are legit for me to check them out, that I give them a call back tomorrow after I check them out. Please someone call that number for me & see if this is what they say they are because I'm no fool, I no one thing business don't ask for your whole ss# over the phone, the ask for the last 4.

It's a good thing that you didn't tell them anything, becuase that call was not from the FTC! The FTC doesn’t manage sweepstakes and give away prizes, we go after sweepstakes scams.

We have an article about prize scams with more tips.

No federal government agency will ask you for money to claim a prize.  Please file a complaint about this at ftc.gov/complaint.

Thank youu for the information. Now if you could find a way for us to block unwanted and robo calls.

I had a company con me out of $4100.00 and what should i do? Is there any way of getting my money back?

You can file complaints about a company with state and federal agencies. There is no guarantee they can get your money back, but you might be able to see if they have a case against the company. You can contact the state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the company is located, and file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also takes complaints.

Let me tell you, nobody has inform me that I have won 2 millions dollars or another amount of money; In this caqse What I must do it?

So in your title you are comparing the scam to one of the biblical ten commandment sins and FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright to god?

Mike, are you taking exception to that because you're one of the scammers?


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