Sweepstakes Scam “Name-Drops” NC Attorney Genera

Scammers sometimes try to lend credibility to their fraud by including the name of a government agency or public official.

A North Carolina couple recently got a call from scammers who told them they had won $2.5 million in the Winners International Sweepstakes. The scammers followed up with a fax claiming that Attorney General Roy Cooper requires North Carolina taxes to be paid on cash prizes before the prize can be awarded. The scammers directed the couple to pay the taxes via a Green Dot Money Pak card. Fortunately the couple called the Attorney General’s office and learned this was a scam before they sent the fraudsters any money.

It’s against the law to require a prepayment for any sweepstakes or cash prize. Another red flag for consumers: if the message you receive is poorly written (as the fax was in this instance), it’s probably a scam. Finally, because we’ve become more successful at stopping fraudsters from using Western Union and other wire transfer services, scammers are increasingly turning to reloadable debit cards like Green Dot. If a sketchy message instructs you to send money via Green Dot, don’t do it.

If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.