ErieFCU.org

AG Warns Consumers About Lottery, Sweepstakes, Work-At-Home Scams

Oct 09, 2008 | Posted in Fraud Alerts

Attorney General Tom Corbett is warning Pennsylvania consumers to be wary of various financial scams, including bogus international lottery and sweepstakes prizes, along with deceptive work-at-home and job-related schemes.

Corbett said “easy money” lottery and sweepstakes scams come in many different forms – some claim that consumers were selected for the prize because their names were entered in an international drawing (similar to previous story), while others are supposedly linked to contests intended to reward consumers for the use of a debit card or credit card.

Corbett said, “The ‘prize notification’ typically includes (an official-looking) check for several thousand dollars, which consumers are asked to immediately deposit into their bank account and then wire-transfer a similar amount to the contest operators in order to pay ‘taxes’ and other ‘fees’ necessary to release their larger prize.” Consumers should avoid any sort of contest that requires them to wire-transfer money in order to release a much larger prize.

There also has been a dramatic increase in consumer complaints about part-time employment or work-at-home schemes this year. The most common subjects of complaints include various check-cashing and package-delivery schemes, along with the “mystery shopper” program. In most every job-related scam, consumers will be asked to wire-transfer money to their ‘employer.’ Corbett said this is "a clear warning sign of a scam.” In addition, he said, “Consumers will often be encouraged to keep their activities secret.”

Consumers with questions or complaints about scams or other consumer issues can 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.gov.