Sweepstakes offer: You may already be a winner, but probably not

Another fake sweepstakes is sweeping through the Rogue Valley, prompting authorities to remind people that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department has received at least three calls from people who got a suspicious award letter over the weekend, Sgt. Tom Turk said.

The letter tells people they have won a Reader's Digest sweepstakes, and includes a check that the letter says the winner can use to pay fees and taxes associated with claiming the prize. The letter includes a phone number, apparently based in Canada, to call for information about where to send money and provide additional personal information.

Several would-be winners had called the sheriff's department seeking details about whether the check and promised larger prize could be legitimate.

"We advise them to just throw it away," Turk said. "Don't try to put the money in your account."

He described the false prize as the latest take on an old scheme — sending counterfeit checks or money orders to people, then asking them to wire their funds offshore.

Banks and police see permutations of the scam fairly frequently and Turk expects that additional people in Jackson County got the latest mailing.

"There are probably going to be more," he said.

— Anita Burke

Find information about scams and consumer protections at www.mailtribune.com/scamwatch.

Share This Story