Sweepstakes scams on rapid rise in Ohio, targeting seniors

Magicians illusion to illustrate lottery scams
Magicians illusion to illustrate lottery scams

Complaints about bogus sweepstakes are rising at rates not seen before in Ohio, says the state's Attorney General, with senior citizens the lead target.

The office received more than 900 sweepstakes complaints since January of this year, surpassing total yearly complaints for the last two years.

These are two examples:

One elderly couple, after receiving a fake notification they had won $495,000, wired $1,800 to the fraudsters who told them the money was needed for insurance. Once their son became aware of the scam, he called the attorney general's office.

Another elderly woman received a check for $4,800 and was told to wire $4,000 of it to Spain, but her daughter notified the state once she discovered the check was fake.

The attorney general's office provides tips to avoid sweepstakes scams:

  • Never wire money to collect a prize. Winning a prize should not cost the consumer money.

  • Be wary of any offer that requires money be sent out of the country.

  • Do not enter any foreign lotteries.

  • Avoid "recovery" scams where supposed officials tell victims they have recovered lost sweepstakes.

Originally published