Protecting People From Scams – Sweepstakes

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commis...

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Federal Trade Commission mailed 503 refund checks to consumers who were allegedly tricked into paying a fee to collect a fake multi-million-dollar sweepstakes prize. The FTC alleged that operators of the scam, collectively known as Prize Information Bureau, sent personalized mailers, some with fictitious government agency names and official-looking seals, to hundreds of thousands of consumers.

The refund checks were mailed by an administrator working for the FTC. More than $183,000 was returned to consumers. The amount varied based upon the amount of each consumer’s loss. Those who receive the checks from the FTC’s refund administrator should cash them within 60 days of the date they were issued. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed. Consumers with questions should call the refund administrator, Gilardi & Co., LLC, at 1-888-251-6826, or visit www.FTC.gov/refunds.

To learn how to avoid these kinds of scams, read the FTC’s Prize Offers: You Don’t Have to Pay to Play.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to give information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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