Phony Lotteries and Sweepstakes
Monday, July 28, 2003
TEXANS ARE BEING VICTIMIZED by phony lotteries and sweepstakes. My office recently heard from a North Texas consumer who was told he had won $1.2 million in the British lottery. But to receive that prize, he had to send almost $2000 in bogus fees.
Wisely, this gentleman decided to contact my office before sending the money to England. But others have not been as fortunate. Earlier this year, an 84-year-old woman from Central Texas lost more than $48,000 of her life savings by believing con artists who told her she had won a huge prize. The cons who run the sweepstakes and lottery scams give various reasons for needing money up front. Do not fall for any of them. No legitimate lottery or sweepstakes requires advance payment from a winner for any purpose. Lotteries and sweepstakes do not collect taxes and they cannot charge money for prizes.
We warn anyone who has been victimized to beware of "recovery" scams, often run by the same con artists who stole the money in the first place: no official from any legitimate government agency will ask you to pay them money to get your money returned. If you get an unsolicited call about a sweepstakes or lottery prize, HANG UP. DO NOT SEND MONEY. If you have questions, you can call our office at 1-800-252-8011.