Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt cautions Nevadans about a fraudulent phone call regarding a sweepstakes that appears to be sponsored by Make-A-Wish Foundation, a charity that endeavors to grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
According to complaints, a caller claiming to be from the federal government, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the fictitious “Consumer Protection Agency,” informs the receiver that he or she has won a large reward as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The “winner” is then informed that in order to receive the prize, he or she needs to provide banking information or initiate a wire transfer to cover taxes and insurance on the prize. This may cost the “winner” several thousand dollars. The scam is highly sophisticated and the call may appear to originate from a (202) Washington, D.C. area code where most federal agencies, including the FTC are headquartered.
“Con artists will stop at nothing to take advantage of others, including posing as members of a well-known charitable foundation,” said Laxalt. “I encourage all Nevadans to be on the lookout for fraud and to be skeptical of any caller who asks you to pay for a prize.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation does not engage in any sweepstakes fundraising. Additionally, the FTC and other consumer protection agencies are not involved in handing out prizes on behalf of charities.
The Office of the Nevada Attorney General encourages Nevadans to keep the following tips in mind to avoid falling victim to a telephone sweepstakes scam:
- Hang up if a caller asks you to provide money or a wire transfer in exchange for a prize.
- Avoid providing your bank account information or wiring money over the telephone.
- Government agencies, including the FTC, will not call you offering you a sweepstakes prize.
- Report any suspected scams to the FTC.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has information about this scam on its fraud alerts page. The Foundation requests those who have received a call about this scam to notify their offices at FraudAlerts@wish.org or at (800) 722-9474. For additional assistance, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit the FTC online here.