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Attorney General’s Office Warns of Sweepstakes Letter Scam

Attorney General’s Office Warns of Sweepstakes Letter Scam  

PIERRE, S.D.-   Attorney General Larry Long said today that South Dakota consumers are being targeting in a scam that illegally uses the Publishers Clearing House name as a front. The Consumer Protection Division has received numerous calls throughout the state from consumers who have reported receiving scam letters in the mail that at first glance appear to be coming from the real Publishers Clearing House.

This is how the scam works. Scam artists send the consumer an official looking letter along with a check claiming that they have been selected as a winner.  They are then asked to contact their agent listed in the letter and to not deposit the check until they speak with the mentioned person. Next they are asked to deposit the check into the bank and send back a portion of the money to cover "taxes, insurance, processing fees, etc via electronic transfer. Once the check is deposited the consumer is responsible for the check deposited into their account. When the check comes back as fraudulent the consumer will owe the bank the money that has been withdrawn and the scammer will have the additional money that was wired back to them.

The scam letter typically shows up in an envelope that has no return address. It is also important to remember that any legitimate sweepstakes company will never ask you to send money in order to participate. If you are asked to send money to claim a sweepstakes prize for any reason you are being scammed.  

If you have been a victim of this scam or would like additional information contact the Consumer Protection Division as 1-800-300-1986 or consumerhelp@state.sd.us

You can also contact the consumer affairs division of Publisher’s Clearing House directly at 1-800-337-4724 to report the scam and verify the authenticity of any direct mail piece that uses the PCH name. 

Below are examples of the fraudulent documents that have been circulating the state.