Earlier this week, TBL told you how scammers were posing as the BBB in phony emails looking for personal information. Now, laugh-a-minute scammers are using the Federal Trade Commission’s name when calling people to tell them they’ve just won $250,000 in a phony sweepstakes.
Except they leave the “phony” part out. That’s why TBL is telling you. (And it’s not as if the FTC would involved in a sweepstakes, though the scammers might say the FTC is supervising it.)
The caller says all you have to do to claim the prize is pay the taxes and insurance, which you can wire or send a check for anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.
Don’t even think of doing that. But report it to the FTC here.
Here are some general tips from the FTC to avoid potential scams:
>> Don’t pay to collect sweepstakes winnings. If you have to pay to collect your winnings, you haven’t won. Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay “insurance,” “taxes,” or “shipping and handling charges” to collect your prize.
>> Hold on to your money. Scammers pressure people to wire money through commercial money transfer companies like Western Union because wiring money is the same as sending cash. If you discover you’ve been scammed, the money’s gone, and there’s very little chance of recovery. Don’t send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier, either. Con artists recommend these services so they can get your money before you realize you’ve been cheated.
>> Look-alikes aren’t the real thing. It’s illegal for any promoter to lie about an affiliation with — or an endorsement by — a government agency or any other well-known organization. Disreputable companies sometimes use a variation of an official or nationally recognized name to try to confuse you and give you confidence in their offers. Insurance companies, including Lloyd’s of London, do not insure delivery of sweepstakes winnings.
>> Phone numbers can deceive. Some con artists call using Internet technology that allows them to disguise their area code: although it may look like they’re calling from Washington, DC, or your local area, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
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