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AG Warns Consumers To Be Wary Of Aggressive Financial Scams

Aug 18, 2008 | Posted in Fraud Alerts

Attorney General Tom Corbett last week cautioned Pennsylvania consumers to be wary of aggressive financial scams, including scam artists pretending to be contacting family members on behalf of relatives who have been injured or arrested while traveling. In addition, Corbett reported that there’s a resurgence of counterfeit check scams circulating across Pennsylvania – typically involving a sweepstakes or lottery prizes.

Corbett says numerous complaints have been received in recent weeks, especially from senior citizens, who have been targeted by these disturbing financial scams. Other similar scams involve telephone messages left by individuals posing as police or hospital officials, directing victims to call a special number to receive information about a relative who has been hurt or in an accident.

The phone numbers that consumers are asked to call are often international numbers, and typically involve several Caribbean nations, where long distance phone numbers can look like ordinary U.S. codes but result in long-distance calling fees.

In the majority of the sweepstakes and lottery scams, potential victims receive an “official notification” of their prize, along with a realistic looking check. Consumers are instructed to deposit the check in their bank account and then wire transfer a portion of that money in order to pay for taxes and other fees.

He urged consumers to be wary of unsolicited contest offers, unusual telephone messages, and any request that consumers wire transfer large sums of money.

Consumers with questions or problems should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-441-2555, or file an online consumer complaint using the Attorney General’s Web site: www.attorneygeneral.org.

Attorney General's Press Release