Jesse’s Story of the Day

Sweepstakes scam takes millions from consumers


The promise of someone arriving at your front door with a winning sweepstakes check is too good for some to ignore.  But in many cases, it cost people thousands of dollars.

Michelle Albers’ 84 year old mother, Meredith, received a phone call saying she had won $2.5 million dollars.  But Meredith thought it sounded fishy and called her daughter.

Michelle decided to pull a fast one on the fraudsters.

She called the number and pretended like she wanted to collect her millions.

But before getting the cash, she was told to do just one thing.

“Go to Western Union and take out a money order for $950,” Albers said.

Albers said the phone call revealed her suspicion: it was a scam.

“If you’ve been contacted by someone who says you’ve won a prize but you have to send money, it’s not the real prize. It’s not Publishers Clearing House,” Chris Irving of Publishers Clearing House explained.

Todd Kossow with the Federal Trade Commission said there have been 250,000 filed by people who say they’ve been dialed up in the Publisher’s Clearing House scam.

And the total cost to consumers: $38 million dollars.

“They want to believe that they won and it’s sometimes hard for people like us to convince them that they haven’t won,” Kossow said.

If you’ve fallen victim to this scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission here.

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