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Female White-Collar Crime Divas-Mordern Day Thieves

You got scammed

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The FTC didn’t send that sweepstakes letter

 by Amy Hebert  Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Here’s a scam with an FTC angle. The letter has an official-looking FTC seal and is signed by “FTC Director” Jessica Rich. It says someone at the FTC will help you claim a cash prize you’ve won, and will help ensure delivery. That is, after you pay off the more than $5,000 “Legal Registration Bond.”

The language might sound legal, and the letter might look legit. You might look up Jessica Rich and see she’s an actual FTC official. But the truth is, there’s nothing legal or official about it. It’s a fake letter designed to convince you to send money for a non-existent prize.

Here are the facts:

  • The FTC doesn’t oversee sweepstakes.
  • No federal government agency will contact you to ask for money so you can claim a prize.
  • If you enter and win a legitimate sweepstakes, you don’t have to pay insurance, taxes, or shipping charges to collect your prize. If you have to pay, it’s not a prize.

Read Prize Scams for more signs you’re dealing with a scam.

Impersonating the FTC isn’t limited to sweepstakes scams, as we’ve written about recently here and here. Read Government Imposter Scams to learn more about spotting imposters.

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