Never send money in magazines

Never send money in magazines

By Greg Collier

If you discuss scams on a regular basis like we do, you’re occasionally going to get a comment that says something along the lines of, “I would never be scammed.” or the more callous, “They get what they deserve.” That’s a dangerous way of thinking because, as we like to think we’ve shown, anybody can get scammed. If you dangle a big enough carrot in front of someone, so to speak, it’s not difficult to convince your target to dismiss any and all red flags. That’s exactly what happened to a retired couple in North Dakota when they were promised a $1.7 million cash prize.

They received a call from a scammer claiming to be from the California Gaming Commission, which isn’t a real thing. In California, it’s called the California Gambling Control Commission. One of the first things the scammers told the couple was to not tell anyone about the prize. Of course, the prize came with a string attached. They couldn’t get the prize until they paid fees and taxes on it. Initially, the couple was sending payments through money orders before they were told to send cash through UPS by placing the bills in between the pages of magazines and labeling the package ‘legal documents’. Before it was all over, the couple had paid $89,000 to the scammers and had even taken out a loan on their house to pay the phony fees.

This is what’s known as the sweepstakes scam or the advance fee scam. There is no such thing as a prize for a contest you did not enter. Even if you did enter a cash prize contest, it’s illegal in the United States to charge money for a contest like that. That’s why most sweepstakes contests tell you in the disclaimer that there is no purchase necessary.

But getting back to the victims of this scam, no one deserves to have this happen to them. Any one of us could potentially fall victim to a scam that could cost us a lot of money. Maybe not this one, but it’s almost a guarantee that there’s a scam out there that could have your name on it.