The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office sent out the following press release Friday morning on sweepstakes scammers (spoiler alert: You didn’t win):
Attorney General Gary King’s Consumer Protection Division has succeeded in stopping three sweepstakes mailer companies from sending fraudulent “winner” notices to New Mexico consumers.
“These sweepstakes mailer operations were using deceptive and misleading practices to trick people into thinking they had won huge sums of money,” says Attorney General King. “In actuality, these were solicitations from a printing company that was selling a report or list of sweepstakes, nothing more.”
The agency Consumer Protection Division’s investigation of American Sweepstakes Publisher, Award Notification Commission, and Global Reporting Network led to agreements by the companies to stop their practice of soliciting New Mexico consumers with deceptive and misleading sweepstakes mailers.
Sweepstakes-related scams create the impression that the recipient was selected to receive a prize and is qualified or chosen for an award. Using deceptive and misleading language and layouts, these mailers make it appear that the notice comes from an official source. The notice seems to guarantee the recipient large sums of money and asks the recipient to pay a small fee for this service. In some instances, by signing the form, the consumer also ends up agreeing to recurring monthly debits from their bank account. The disclosures of the true nature of the solicitation are in small print, on the back of the form, or ambiguous and misleading.
In a letter to these companies, Attorney General King advised each company that their mailings violate the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act and demanded that the company cease and desist mailing these or any similar false and misleading solicitations to New Mexico consumers.
The Attorney General says his office is aware of different types of sweepstakes scams that target consumers. This particular scam was brought to his attention by a news media source.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim of Sweepstakes Scams:
- Beware of mailers that indicate you have “won” a sweepstakes prize.
- Legitimate sweepstakes do not ask you to pay any money.
- Disclosing personal financial information in response to a promotion will likely lead to loss of money and/or identity theft.
- Promises that you won a contest or sweepstakes that you never entered are always scams.