We all know by now to be wary of letters informing us of our having won a sweepstakes that we never entered, but there is one letter that is presently circulating that appears to come from the Federal Trade Commission, the very same federal agency that protects us from lottery scams. This letter looks official. It carries the seal of the FTC. It is signed by Jessica Rich, the Deputy Director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Division. And it is still a scam. According to the letter, all you have to do to claim your prize is pay $5,000 for a Legal Registration Bond, whatever that may be. Of course, if you pay that bond, you will lose $5,000 and win nothing more than a hard learned lesson about sweepstakes scams.
For starters, the FTC doesn’t sponsor or endorse any lotteries or sweepstakes. In addition, no legitimate lottery requires you to pay fees, administrative costs or taxes in order to claim your prize. While income taxes are due on sweepstakes winnings, they are never collected by the lottery sponsors. The lottery sponsor either deducts the taxes from your prize and pays them to the IRS or they give you the entire prize and you are responsible for paying the taxes. They never collect tax payments from you. Finally, remember, it is hard to win a lottery that you enter; it is impossible to win one that you never even entered.