Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman Reminds Consumers: “There is No Pot of Gold” from Sweepstakes Scams
DENVER – Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman reminds all Colorado consumers who want to try their luck this St. Patrick’s Day to be on the alert for fraudulent sweepstakes and foreign lottery scams.
“Every year Coloradans are inundated with phony claims that they have been selected to win a sweepstakes or foreign lottery prize,” said Attorney General Coffman, “and every year some unfortunate consumer presses their luck and sends in entry fees, insurance, tax or other payments in order to ‘claim’ their prize. Sadly, their luck – and their money – has run out.”
Sweepstakes and foreign lottery scams use direct mail offers, telephone calls, emails, and even text messages, to try to persuade unwary consumers that they have been specially selected to receive a valuable prize. These appeals can look or sound very professional and even, in some instances, appear to be government-sponsored.
Be an educated consumer and don’t fall victim to get rich schemes and scams. Some clear signs that the sweepstakes or lottery claims are blarney:
- The call, letter, or electronic message comes from a sweepstakes or lottery you don’t remember entering.
- The so-called “prize notice” contains vague and confusing terms, or bad grammar, that leaves you confused whether you have actually won a prize or are just being asked to enter into the sweepstakes or lottery.
- You are required to submit some form of payment in order to claim a prize or award – it might be as little as $20 as an “entry fee” or “judge’s fee” or thousands of dollars for taxes or insurance.
- The notice creates a sense of urgency imploring you to “act immediately” or uses terms like “final notice” or “last chance to claim your prize.”
- You are required to make an immediate payment using a wire transfer or pre-paid money card.
- You are required to provide personal identifying information, such as your social security number, birthdate, or bank account information.
If you believe you have been defrauded or victimized by a sweepstakes or foreign lottery scam, file a report or by calling 1-800-222-4444.
DateMarch 17th, 2016