Scam of the day – September 30, 2013 – FTC shuts down sweepstakes scam

Sweepstakes and lottery scams are among the most common and most profitable (for the scammer) scams around today.  For some reason that is not clear, elderly people appear to be particularly susceptible to these phony lottery scams by which people are told that they have won massive amounts of money in lotteries of sweepstakes that they never entered.  They are then told that they need to pay various processing fees or taxes, which many of the victims then do, but never end up receiving a penny of winnings.

Recently the Federal Trade Commission obtained an injunction against Liam Moran of California and his companies which have sent out more than three million letters to people in 156 different countries that appear to tell the people receiving the letters that they have won a sweepstakes prize worth more than two million dollars and that all they have to do is send in a small processing fee.  The truth is that in confusing language found in fine print on the back of the letter it indicates that what Moran will provide if they send in the fee is a list of sweepstakes that the person could enter.  In fact, Moran never even sent the list of sweepstakes to the people who sent him money.  The entire scheme was a total scam.

TIPS

As I have told you repeatedly, you do not win lotteries or sweepstakes that you never entered and you never have to pay money to claim your prize.  Lottery winnings are subject to income taxes, but those taxes are either deducted directly from your prize before it is sent to you by a legitimate lottery or you are responsible for paying the taxes directly to the IRS.  You never pay the income taxes to the lottery sponsor.  It is also important before entering any lottery to read the fine print and make sure that you understand the terms of the lottery.  Don’t let greed get the better of you.