Sweepstakes Fraud Factsheet

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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

An official-looking document arrives in your mailbox.  Or perhaps it's Grandma or Uncle Charlie that gets it. "Pending Disbursement!" it shouts, or "Preparations to Pay".  Unless you or Grandma drag out the magnifying glass and read all the fine print, the conclusion is unavoidable - you've just won anywhere between $10,000 and $2,000,000 in a sweepstakes.  All you have to do is send $5.00, or $10.00, or $27.50, to the "disbursement office" or the "awards chairman", and you collect your prize.

Sadly, these mailings fall into the category of "Legitimate Scams", and some of them are fronts for outright illegal activity.  Send off your money, and what you get in return is:

  • A list of sweepstakes that you can enter.
  • A check for $1.00, some worthless coupons, or some other insignificant prize
Worst of all, you also get:
  • Your name on an ever-expanding "sucker list" that is bought and sold by unscrupulous individuals who want your money, and will stop at nothing to get it.

Don't think you or your family can be taken in?  It's happening as you read this, to people in all walks of life.  The target of choice is the elderly or the isolated, but anyone can be conned, especially when the economy experiences a downturn. Sweepstakes fraud is a multi-billion dollar business, and these swamp-dwellers are very good at what they do.

Sweepstakes fraud is closely related to other kinds of internet fraud such as the "Nigerian Banker" scheme, and in fact many sweepstakes frauds originate from Nigeria, other places in Africa, or the Netherlands and the UK where many African criminals have emigrated.  Others appear to be originating from China and often have to do with "we need an agent to help us process payments for our import/export firm".  All of these scams have one purpose only: to get your money and your identity information by whatever means possible.

This page is designed for one purpose only:  to warn you and your loved ones. If only one person is prevented from being taken in by these fraudsters, it will have been worth the effort.

Direct questions about this web site to the webmaster: ccdesan{at}gmail{dot}com