If someone declares you a big winner, be cautious - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

If someone declares you a big winner, be cautious

November 29, 2005

Albany-- Three people in Dougherty County have been conned by the sweepstakes scam this week. Dougherty County Sheriff's Investigators warn South Georgians about entering Internet contests, and being notified that they are winners.

The victims received letters announcing they had won sweepstakes. They even had checks for thousands of dollars, but those checks are counterfeit. "She then immediately went and sent the twelve hundred dollars, thinking she was going to get $97,000 back," said Dougherty Co. Sheriff's Lt. Craig Dodd.

Part of the con was the winners had to Western Union thousands of dollars back to the Canadian company to cover custom charges. So by the time they found out the checks were bogus, their money was gone.

Investigators say people are more vulnerable to these cons during the Holidays. "People are in need of money this time of the year," Dodd said. "Taxes are coming due, Christmas is coming due. All these things happen at the same time. So people are more susceptible to the sweepstakes scam and that sort of thing."

Most of these con groups are working out of Canada. The Sheriff's Office is working with the Secret Service and Canadian Police, but very few of these groups are ever caught.

The best way to protect yourself, make sure what you are getting if someone says you are a contest winner.

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