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Watch out for Labor Day sweepstakes scams

Consumers are being warned to be aware of potential “sweepstakes” scams that seem to be targeting residents for Labor Day weekend.

Scams_66FDF0AB The Oklahoman Attorney General’s Office has received several complaints in the last 24 hours of possible sweepstakes fraud. In most cases, the scammer calls someone at home and claims the victim has won a sweepstakes. They are asked to send money to receive sweepstakes winnings, but the victim never receives payment.

The agency is concerned because it’s seeing an increase in these types of sweepstakes scams that may be targeting consumers over the Labor Day weekend. It warns consumers, especially families of older residents, to learn about the scams and to not send money or give personal information to anyone they don’t know.

Consumers should take the caller’s contact information, if possible, and call their Attorney General’s Office.

Helpful tips to avoid fraud include:

· Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning. Nor do they require you to pay “taxes” or “shipping and handling charges” to get your prize.

· Fraudulent promoters might instruct you to send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier to enter a contest or claim your “prize.” This is a favorite ploy for con artists because it lets them take your money fast, before you realize you’ve been cheated.

· Disclosing your checking account or credit card account number over the phone in response to a sweepstakes promotion – or for any reason other than to buy the product or service being sold – is a sure-fire way to be scammed in the future.

Consumers need to be aware of these scams and take measures to protect themselves.

Copyright 2011, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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