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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 29056
Experience:  Lawyer
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I have received multiple official looking documents telling

Customer Question

I have received multiple official looking documents telling me I have won a large amount of money, . requiring a processing fee or a shipping and handling charge. I have sent money orders to two places and never heard from them again. I have found the wording to be confusing. I received 5 of them today. One says award notification commission from Kansas city Kansas stating that I may have already won $2,000,000.00 and there are two options of receiving the money. I am required to make a $11.89 payment to complete the finalization form. Could this be accurate?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this is happening.
No legitimate contest or organization will ever require a person to send any money to collect a prize. There are no exceptions. It is ALWAYS a scam. If you send them the $11.89, they'll just ask for more money, and more and more and more. The reason you're getting so many notices is that the scam artists are aware that you've paid in the past, so they think that means you'll be more likely to pay in the future.
This is called "advance fee fraud" and it's extremely common. It's impossible to win a contest without entering. A sweepstakes or contest cannot charge a person to claim their prize - these contests are highly regulated. Any processing fees, shipping and handling charges, insurance, check fees, courier fees, finalization fees and other payments ALL are part of the company's overhead and are something that the company holding the contest would pay, NEVER the winner.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings about these types of scams:
http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0199-prize-scams
http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0086-international-lottery-scams
Here are additional warnings:
http://contests.about.com/od/conttestscams/tp/sweepstakefraud.htm
http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/LotterySweepstakeScams
http://www.megamillions.com/lottery-scams
Also, beware of follow-up scams. Sometimes in this situation, the scam artists will have a friend contact you and offer to get your money back - for a small, upfront fee, sent via Western Union. It's just a more despicable part of the original scam. Don't fall for it.
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