Sumter County Sheriff’s officials are investigating a new scam after a resident paid almost $500 to claim nonexistent sweepstakes winnings.
According to reports, the victim — identified as an elderly woman — reported this week that she received a call saying she was the third-place winner of a $500,000 Publishers Clearing House prize.
She later received a fax that was filled with misspellings, but stamped with the Sumter County Tax Collector’s Office seal. The fax directed the woman to send $498 to cover county taxes and other fees before she could get the prize.
The victim apparently sent the money, but eventually became suspicious and went to the Tax Collector’s Office, where she discovered it was a scam.
Tax Collector Randy Mask said anything affiliated with his office would have a local phone number on it.
Sweepstakes are a popular marketing tool used to sell products, where the promoters offer chances to win prizes. Sweepstakes promoters aim to grab consumers' attention with the possibility of large prizes in order to convince consumers to purchase merchandise or magazines. As mandated by law, making purchases will not improve your chances of winning a prize.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind regarding sweepstakes and contests:
If you believe you have been a victim of a sweepstakes scam or if you wish to report suspicious activity, a Villages Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help. Call us today at 352-369-5334 or contact us online today to get the legal assistance you need.
"Super friendly and understanding staff! I definitely will use their services again."
— Zoe Koment
510 County Road 466, Suite 203-W
The Villages, Florida 32159
11020 Northcliffe Blvd., Spring Hill, FL 34608
Toll-free Statewide: 1.866.608.5529
Satellite Consultation Offices located:
Bushnell, Gainesville, Inverness,
Miami, New Port Richey, Ocala,
Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa