Scam alert

Sweepstakes scammers impersonating Indiana Attorney General’s Office

Criminals responsible for an international sweepstakes scam are now impersonating the Indiana Attorney General’s Office in attempt to convince victims that their scam is legitimate. The scammers are using a forged seal of the Attorney General’s Office for its letterhead, and have forged the Attorney General’s signature.

The Mega Millions International Lottery scam claims to offer $2 million in prize money, but the “winners” must first pay certain fees and taxes to receive the award. Once the fees are paid via a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, the “winner” is unlikely to see a dime from the scammers and will be out any money they paid.

In a letter faxed to one Indiana consumer earlier this month, the scammers impersonate the Indiana Attorney General’s Office to address concerns that their offer is fake. The letter claims that the Attorney General’s Office conducted a thorough investigation into the offer and has determined that it is legitimate.

In a further attempt to validate the scam, the letter provides information about an agent that works for the “Mega Millions Headquarters” and alleges that he will present you with your winnings.

Do not be fooled; this letter is fake. The AG’s Office is working to determine its source. It is unclear how many people may have received this letter.

If you receive a letter like this, disregard it and do not reply to any further correspondence by these scammers. You should also report the scam to the Attorney General’s Office by filing a complaint online at www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1.800.382.5516.

Sweepstakes scams are one of the most common scams reported to the Attorney General’s Office. Since the beginning of the year, nearly 150 consumers have called in to the AG’s Office to report these scams. In 2014, nearly 850 people called in.

Sweepstakes or foreign lottery promotions may come via mail or phone. If you give any information or make any payment to these scammers, you will likely receive more phony offers for other sweepstakes. Your best bet is to ignore all phone and mail solicitations for sweepstakes promotions. If you receive what looks like lottery material from a foreign country, give it to your local postmaster. This type of foreign solicitation is illegal.

Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For more tips, visit http://in.gov/attorneygeneral/2542.htm.

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