Consumer Alert - Lottery Scam
published on 07/27/2012
The State’s Attorney General issued a consumer alert yesterday warning of fraudulent lottery letters and emails that have been received by many residents. Consumers are being asked to send money or share personal information in order to collect their winnings.
Attorney General Pruitt’s Public Protection Unit Warns of Global Lottery Scam
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit Thursday issued a consumer alert to warn Oklahomans about fraudulent lottery letters and e-mails.
The bogus notifications claim consumers have won a “Western Union Accredited” government lottery. Included in the correspondence is an official-looking document that asks consumers to send money or share personal information in order to collect their winnings.
“Western Union officials alerted our office to this scam,” said Tom Bates, chief of the AG’s Public Protection Unit. “By getting the word out as quickly as possible, we hope to prevent Oklahomans from becoming victims.”
Below are tips to help consumers avoid sweepstakes and lottery scams:
· Legitimate lottery or sweepstakes organizations do not ask for money up front before awarding prizes;
· It is a violation of federal law to participate in a foreign lottery by phone or mail. No legitimate foreign lottery organization will solicit U.S. consumers in this way;
· Don’t provide personal or financial information unless you have initiated the call to a verified reputable business or organization;
· Never send money through a wire transfer or other means unless you are sending it to a close friend or family member;
· Don’t feel pressured to provide information or send money quickly;
· If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
One of the best ways to fight scams and prevent others from becoming victims is to report such correspondence to law enforcement and the AG’s Office immediately.
The Public Protection Unit works to protect consumers from fraudulent, unfair or deceptive business practices, and can provide conciliation services to help resolve complaints against businesses.
If you have received a call about a Western Union lottery or have a question about a possible scam, contact law enforcement and the AG’s Public Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or file a complaint online at www.oag.ok.gov.