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Zoey_JD, Criminal attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23541
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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Company called Winners Circle out of Alabama saying I had

Customer Question

Company called Winners Circle out of Alabama saying I had won Millions of Dollars, I have paid several fees totaling $7540.00 Have you heard of this company. Phone #(###) ###-#### Riccardo is who I have talked to. I would want my money back so I can pay your fee for getting this company out of business. Linda Florea Sandpoint, Id 83864 (###) ###-#### or email ***@******.***
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 3 months ago.


This is a well-known fraud. I am sorry to hear that you fell for it.

Scammers always want you to believe that you can be picked out of thin air and become a contest winner. You can't. You must always enter a contest to win it.

Lottery winners are paid out of the proceeds of lottery tickets. If you don't buy your ticket you can't win, and you must present a valid ticket to claim your winnings. US lottery tickets cannot be sold on line. It's against Federal law. You must buy them in person from agents at specially designated locations.

Sweepstakes winners must complete an entry form and sign up for the contest. Sweepstakes also require you to submit your half of the entry form as proof before you can claim your prize. Your half of the form with your winning number matches the information the company has on the other half which was pulled from the drawing.

Finally, when you win a real contest, the money already belongs to you. So you NEVER have to pay anything up front to receive something that's already yours.

In any legitimate contest, if there were indeed any transfer expenses, the contest would simply deduct it from your money which they already have and just give you a check for the rest. But with a scam contest, if you notify them, they will ask for money up front for taxes, insurance, courier or transfer fees, or they will give you a partial check and ask you to deposit it and use the money to pay a third party. There's no need for any of that with a real contest.

The up front fee is the #1 sign of a contest scam.

If you can find these people, you can sue them for the return of your money or have them prosecuted. Unfortunately, finding them will be a job for law enforcement, since the company is not real, and the phone number is ***** computer generated number, and the computer can be anywhere in the world. So being able to find your scammer is a very long, long shot.

Along with your police, report the scam to the FBI online at their Internet Crime Complaint Center at If they can find your thieves and bring them to justice, you'll be able to get your money back.

There is one somewhat bright note: when you are the victim of a crime -- which you are -- your unreimbursed losses are tax deductible. So even in the worst case scenario if the authorities come up with nothing, you will be able to get some of your $7,540 back in the form of a deduction when you file your 2016 taxes.

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