Scammers have apparently taken the Federal Trade Commission’s name in a popular sweepstakes scam. The FTC’s main goal is consumer protection and helping people avoid scams like these. How is it seriously possible that some people think they’re just giving away $250,000? I’m amazed that people are falling for this.

The FTC writes…

Someone who claims to work for the Federal Trade Commission calls to inform you that you have won a lottery or sweepstakes. To receive the prize, all you have to do is pay the taxes and insurance. The caller asks you to wire money or send a check for an amount between $1,000 and $10,000. What should you do? Don’t send money or account information, and immediately report the incident to the real Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC is the nation’s consumer protection agency. It investigates fraud and provides free information, but it never collects money directly from consumers. FTC staffers don’t have any involvement with this sweepstakes scam, but they do want you to avoid it.

The caller might suggest that the FTC is supervising the giveaway. He or she might even use the name of a real FTC employee. Your Caller ID might display the Federal Trade Commission’s name or a Washington, DC area code. Don’t be surprised if you receive repeated calls and follow-up faxes.

No matter how convincing the impersonation, you should never send money to claim a prize. No FTC employee will ever call to ask you to send money. Legitimate sweepstakes companies won’t
either. Many older consumers and their families have reported this kind of scam, but anyone could be contacted.

You can click here to read the full report.

Just like you didn’t win the New Zealand national lottery, you didn’t win a sweepstakes prize from the FTC. Never, EVER, send someone money via Western Union to collect money that you mysteriously won. This is ALWAYS a scam.

If you or anyone you know has been contacted by these scammers, report it immediately to the FTC. You can file a complaint at or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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  • gwen


    talk about lottery. i signed up for free lottery in 2008. now they claim i ahve won a cashiers cheque of $2700 and something. they want to send me the parcel or cheque or whatever it is, but i need to pay the shipping fee… is that legit or must i leave it, my question is actually, if i have won a cheque why dont they deposit it into my bank account, who sends cheques out with that amount of money anyway. i do live in south africa, if any one can advice me on what to do, you can email me at

    thanks so much

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