Monday, May 4, 2015

Attorney general warns West Virginians about fake lottery scams

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning West Virginians about a fake lottery winning notifications circulating throughout the state.
The Attorney General's Office report  they have received numerous amounts of calls and questions from residents who received a letter stating to be a winning lottery prize notification. The letter also includes a check said to be used to pay for the prize's processing fee. Once the check is activated, the winner is told to deposit the check, and then withdraw the same amount to send back to the sweepstakes officials to cover processing and fees. The consumer is not aware he or she has been scammed until the prize check bounces. By then, the scammers have collected the processing fees sent by the consumer and moved on to other potential victims.
Sweepstakes and lottery scams are often common in West Virginia, and in 2014, was the third most common type of scam reported to the Consumer Protection Division. Morrisey offers consumers tips on how to identify and ignore the malicious claims:
-Keep your money and your information to yourself.
-Never share your financial information with someone who contacts you and claims to need it.
-If you have to pay upfront to collect winnings, it's no prize.
-Legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to pay fees to participate or to receive a prize.
-Research the company or lottery to see if they are legitimate.
-Do an online search with the word “scam” after it to see if anything pops up. By checking out a company's details, users can easily spot discrepancies.
-Organize your sweepstakes entries. You can only win sweepstakes that you enter, so if you receive a notification, you can easily check to make sure that you actually entered that contest.
If you believe you have been a victim of a lottery scam or other scam, call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808.