Oklahoma Attorney General Warns Against Sweepstakes Scams

Friday, June 17th 2011, 3:03 pm
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Attorney General Scott Pruitt's Public Protection Unit is warning Oklahomans to beware of a scam with a long history that seems to be making another comeback.

The Public Protection Unit has received several complaints in the last two weeks about possible sweepstakes fraud. Scammers will call people at home and claim the victim has one a sweepstakes. The scammer then asks the victim to send money in order to receive the sweepstakes winnings, but the victim never receives payment.

One victim sent more than $1,600 before realizing the sweepstakes was fake.

"We have seen an uptick in these types of cold-call sweepstakes scams in recent weeks, so we want Oklahomans, and especially families of older residents, to learn about the scams and to not send money or give personal information to someone you don't know," said Tom Bates, chief of the Public Protection Unit. "We ask Oklahomans to take the caller's contact information, if possible, and call our office."

The Public Protection Unit issued this advice to avoid becoming a victim of sweepstakes fraud:

  • Legitimate sweepstakes don't require you to pay or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning. Nor do they require you to pay "taxes" or "shipping and handling charges" to get your prize.
  • Fraudulent promoters might instruct you to send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier to enter a contest or claim your "prize." This is a favorite ploy for con artists because it lets them take your money fast, before you realize you've been cheated.
  • Disclosing your checking account or credit card account number over the phone in response to a sweepstakes promotion - or for any reason other than to buy the product or service being sold - is a sure-fire way to be scammed in the future.