I just learned about this one from ABC News, by way of Scam Victims United: apparently someone has been calling people telling them they’ve won a sweepstakes sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which turns out to be another case of advance fee fraud. Victims report having lost thousands of dollars to this scheme.
Three observations about this scam:
- I’ve never heard of a charity running any kind of sweepstakes. I’m not saying it never happens, but usually these organizations ask you for money; they don’t hand it out to random people.
- You have to enter a sweepstakes, drawing, raffle or lottery in order to win a sweepstakes, drawing, raffle or lottery. When it comes to rules that define how the physical universe operates, this one is right up there with relativity and Newton’s laws.
- I really can’t think of a sleazier way to run a scam than by using the Make-a-Wish Foundation name. These crooks really are just the worst type of people.
Once again, the old common-sense maxim applies: if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
Also, if you’ve really won something, never pay in advance to claim your prize. That’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.