Government imposters claiming to be with the FTC or another agency like the fictitious “Consumer Protection Agency,” are calling to inform people they have won a huge sweepstake from the Make A Wish Foundation, a well-known charity for very sick children. To get the money, the callers say, the “winner” must first pay thousands of dollars to cover taxes or insurance on the prize. The call may even come from a 202 (Washington, DC) area code to appear credible — since the headquarters for the FTC and most federal agencies are in DC.
This is just a scheme using the well-known names of Make-a-Wish and the FTC to rob thousands of dollars from people. Once you wire money or send banking information, you will never see your money again.
If you think you have been a victim of this scheme, or know someone that has, call your local BBB Serving Northeast & Central LA & the Ark-La-Tex located in Shreveport, LA at 318-797-1330 or toll-free at 1-800-372-4222, in Alexandria, LA 318-473-4494 and in Monroe, LA at 318-387-4600. As we get more information we will post on Facebook or you can visit us here on our website at bbb.org/shreveport.
The FTC released this alert yesterday and BBB Wise Giving Alliance is in contact with the Phoenix-based headquarters of Make a Wish Foundation of America, which confirmed that they do not have a sweepstake and they are sending BBB Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) more information about this fraudulent activity using their name.
Here are a few facts and tips to protect yourself and others:
If someone asks you to wire money or provide your bank account information over the telephone, it’s a scam.
Anytime you have to pay to get a prize, it’s a scam.
The FTC doesn’t oversee sweepstakes and no FTC staff is involved in giving out sweepstakes prizes. We do, however, go after sweepstakes scams like this one.
If an FTC case results in refunds, you can find the details at ftc.gov/redress.
The Make-a-Wish Foundation has information about this specific scam on its fraud alerts page.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Northeast & Central Louisiana and the Ark-La-Tex which was founded in 1947 and serves 3 counties in Arkansas & Texas and 28 Parishes in Louisiana.