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New twists on sweepstakes/lottery fraud

Information provided by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

Law enforcement is beginning to see some new approaches to the old sweepstakes/lottery frauds, and Castle Pines residents should be aware of these techniques.

The typical sweepstakes/lottery fraud involved a telephone call or regular mail from the criminal telling the victim that they have won a large amount of money in some lottery or sweepstakes. The criminal then tells the victim that there are taxes and/or fees that need to be paid before the winning money can be sent to them. The victim is typically asked to wire the money for the taxes or fees. Of course, there is no winning money and the criminal disappears after he/she gets the money from the victim.

The new approaches include:

Criminals are using well-known sweepstakes names to add to the credibility of their scams Legitimate sweepstakes companies won’t ask you to send money to get your prize.

Criminals usually target older, more vulnerable adults – please inform your older friends/relatives.

Some criminals are now asking victims to buy a pre-paid debit card at a store and put a certain amount of money on the card instead of having the victim wire the money to them. Then they ask the victim to give them the account number from the money card. As soon as the criminal has the account number, they immediately cash the money out and disappear.

Another twist involves a second phone call from a different criminal telling the victim that they are an agent from the FBI or some other law enforcement agency and:

1) The victim really did win a large amount of money, but the first caller was a scam artist who was trying to steal the money from them. The alleged law enforcement agent (the second criminal) then tells the victim that they have arrested the first criminal who was trying to steal the money and it is now safe for the victim to claim the money they won after they pay the taxes and/or fees on it. No money is ever sent to the victim after the criminals get the victim’s money; or,

2) The second criminal may say he is a law enforcement officer, accuse the victim of being involved in the scam, and tell the victim that he/she will be arrested unless he/she pays a fine by sending money. Law enforcement officers won’t call and threaten to arrest you unless you send money Criminals can be very persuasive, sophisticated, and sometimes very threatening, but don’t fall for these scams.

If you have any question about the legitimacy of a story you are being told, please call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 303-660-7544 for help. Never try to confirm the legitimacy of the story you are being told by calling a number the criminal gives you.

If you have been victimized, the criminals may put your name on a list of easy targets for other criminals. That list can be sold to other criminals and you may receive threats and scams over and over again from many criminals and many places. 



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