CONSUMER ALERT- Attorney General Pruitt Warns of Phony Lottery Scam
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt Wednesday issued a consumer alert to warn Oklahomans about a fraudulent lottery scheme.
General Pruitt issued the alert after the AG’s Public Protection Unit received a call from an Oklahoma couple who lost $20,000 to a scammer who claimed the couple had won the lottery and a new car. All the couple had to do, according to the criminal, was to pay for taxes and fees up front. The scammer also told the couple he knew the attorney general
and that the transaction was approved by the AG’s Office.
“Oklahomans need to be weary of anyone asking for cash or payment up front. Legitimate lottery operations do not require payments to receive your winnings,” Pruitt said. “People need to listen to their gut and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Below are helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim of a telephone scam:
· Legitimate lottery or sweepstakes organizations do not ask for money up front before awarding prizes;
· It is a violation of federal law to participate in a foreign lottery by phone or mail. No legitimate foreign lottery organization will solicit U.S. consumers in this way;
· Try to verify the caller’s identity as well as the company they represent;
· Don’t provide personal or financial information unless you have initiated the call to a verified reputable person, business or government entity;
· Never send money through a wire transfer or other means unless you are sending to a close friend or family member;
· Don’t feel pressured to give information or send money quickly.
One of the best ways to fight these scams and prevent others from becoming victims is to report such calls to local authorities and the AG’s Office immediately.
The Public Protection Unit protects vulnerable consumers from fraudulent, unfair or deceptive business practices and can provide conciliation services to help resolve complaints against businesses.
If you have received one of these calls or have a question about a possible scam, contact the AG’s Public Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029 or file a complaint online at www.oag.ok.gov.