*****CONSUMER ALERT*****CONSUMER ALERT*****
MADIGAN WARNS CONSUMERS OF INCREASE IN LOTTERY SCAM REPORTS
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today alerted Illinois consumers to an alarming rise in reports to her office of lottery scams. Callers – particularly seniors – report being conned out of thousands of dollars through scams promising they've won lottery and sweepstakes prizes.
"Every day scam artists busily work the phones and mail to con people – too often seniors – into believing they've just won something big," Attorney General Madigan said. "The only big thing these seniors get if they respond is a hit to their bank accounts. Too often victims lose thousands of dollars to lottery and sweepstakes scams."
Madigan said con artists pose a variety of convincing stories to get consumers' money, but they use a common tactic by forcing consumers to first wire money to the scammer to then supposedly claim their lottery or sweepstakes prize. This method largely prevents consumers from recouping their lost funds and makes the scam largely untraceable.
The best defense? Consumers should simply hang up the call or throw out the letter when contacted, Madigan said.
"If you receive a call or letter from someone you don't know or haven't met telling you, 'You've Won,' hang up or throw it out," Madigan said. "Don't stay on the phone, don't read more. Just Hang Up or Throw it Out!"
Attorney General Madigan detailed common warning signs of these scams for consumers:
Madigan said consumers should consider placing their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry to block most unwanted telemarketing calls. Register your home phone or cell phone online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register.
The Attorney General also urged consumers who have fallen victim to a scam or want to report a scam to contact her Consumer Fraud Hotline: