Phony Lotteries, Sweepstakes Steal from Elderly
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
TEXANS ARE BEING VICTIMIZED by phony lotteries and sweepstakes. My office recently heard from an 84-year-old woman from Central Texas who 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.
The perpetrators of these scams can be persuasive. They can also be abusive. To hear a recorded call between a telephone scammer and a real victim, click here (audio courtesy of the National White Collar Crime Center). We urge you: if you receive a call of this nature, HANG UP. We also warn consumers that no legitimate sweepstakes or lottery 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 and report it to PhoneBusters at 1-888-495-8501 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.