Apparently, some group of geniuses has been calling people and pretending that they are from the FTC. They start out with some nonsense like “Hi, I’m calling from the Federal Trade Commission to tell you that you have won $250,000…”
They try to tell you that you won the lottery or some other bogus prize, and that you should give them money in order to collect your winnings. There are so many things wrong with this picture (not least of which is the fact that the FTC doesn’t collect money from consumers, period) that we don’t even know where to start.
The FTC says:
The FTC is the nation’s consumer protection agency. It investigates fraud and provides free information, but it never collects money directly from consumers. FTC staffers don’t have any involvement with this sweepstakes scam, but they do want you to avoid it.
The caller might suggest that the FTC is supervising the giveaway. He or she might even use the name of a real FTC employee. Your Caller ID might display the Federal Trade Commission’s name or a Washington, DC area code. Don’t be surprised if you receive repeated calls and follow-up faxes.
No matter how convincing the impersonation, you should never send money to claim a prize. No FTC employee will ever call to ask you to send money. Legitimate sweepstakes companies won’t either. Many older consumers and their families have reported this kind of scam, but anyone could be contacted.
Don’t pay people to collect prizes! Ever! Argh!
Scammers Exploit the FTC’s Good Name, Promise Phony Sweepstakes Prizes [FTC] (Thanks, Viola!)
(Photo: Johnny Vulkan )