Attorney General's Office news release
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli warns Virginians to be cautious of a sweepstakes fraud where the scammers are claiming to be from the "attorney general's office" to lend legitimacy to the scam. In recent reports, an individual calls victims, claiming to be an employee of the Virginia attorney general's office. The caller provides the office's mailing address and telephone number for citizens to call to verify the validity of the sweepstakes notice they have received.
"Scammers sometimes impersonate government officials to get you to send them money," said Cuccinelli. "No government agency or legitimate sweepstakes company will contact you to ask for money. If you have to pay, there is no prize."
The scam works like most sweepstakes scams. A mailing, with a realistic-looking check inside, is sent to notify the recipient that they have won a large sum of money. To claim her winnings, the recipient is instructed to deposit the check and then send back a portion of the money to pay for taxes, fees, and other costs associated with claiming the winnings. Those who deposit the check and send money, as directed by the scammer, soon find out that the check was not real and are forced to reimburse the bank for the funds.
Cuccinelli urged all Virginians to protect themselves from these scammers and offers these tips:
If you have questions about this scam, or if you feel you have been a victim of this scam, the Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection telephone counselors are available to assist you. Please call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-552-9963 if calling from Virginia, or 804-786-2042 if calling from the Richmond area. The Consumer Protection office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
When you call, be sure to include: