How it works:
Scam artists send mass-produced form letters to thousands of recipients every month. The mailing might inform you that you have won a million dollar prize, but that you need to pay a fee or a tax in advance to receive the funds. You pay the fee, and then receive nothing.
What you should know:
The United States Postal Service and U.S. Department of Justice are warning consumers about this type of fraud. They advise consumers never to send money in order to receive sweepstakes or lottery winnings. Consumers are never required to pay money to receive these kinds of awards.
What you should do:
If you get a suspicious letter, or think you may be a victim of a fraud scheme, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint and contact the South Dakota Attorney General's Office at 1-800-300-1986. You can read more about sweepstakes scams here.
And remember, you can’t “win” a sweepstakes or lottery that you didn’t enter!
Spotted a scam? Tell us about it. Our scam-tracking map gives you information about the latest scams targeting people in your state. You’ll also find first-hand accounts from scam-spotters who are sharing their experiences so you know how to protect yourself and your family.
Photo courtesy of: iStockphoto.com/alexskopje