Sweepstakes Fraud Factsheet

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The Bogus Check Ploy


A Case Study

Sample Envelopes

Sample Letters

A New Twist - Here's a Check

The Prize You Win

The Canadian connection

The Swiss Connection

The Psychic Connection

What can victims do?

Known Scammers

Additional Links

The Bottom Line

If you get a check in the mail for a contest you did not enter, do not cash it, and above all, send no money anywhere unless you know it is legitimate.


One of the newest scams is to send you an official-looking letter indicating that you have won millions of dollars, and include a check to cover "taxes and fees".  You cash the check, wire off the money, and then the check bounces. You're stuck for the full amount, and the scammer walks off to the bank, whistling.


(Click the Thumbnail for a Larger Image)


You've just broken Rule No. 1 of a sweepstakes - "Never pay a fee to collect a prize."


Many other scams depend on this mechanism as well and may involve "overpayments". Never send money to anyone just because they've given you a check - for goods, services, or merchandise. Always make sure a check clears before sending funds to anyone.


No matter how "official" a letter looks, if they want money up front, it's a fraud. Be smart!  Keep your hard-earned money!