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FREE MONEY? Sweepstakes Swindles &Schemes

6:24 PM, Jun 3, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- If a sign simply dropped out of the sky that said "FREE MONEY" you should know it's not for real.

But when you're told a company you do business with has free money for you, you might just believe it is your lucky day.

Sweepstakes swindles and schemes are getting harder to spot. Here's two recent examples from News 2 viewers who called 2 Wants To Know Call For Action.

"I've been a customer since 2003, " says Angel Cummings.

Ten years worth of bowls and knives from Publishers Clearing House made Angel an easy mark. "I thought my ship had finally come in, I really finally did."

You see, Angel "friended" Publisher's Clearing House on facebook and the swindler used that connection.

He posed as Dave Sayer from PCH and got in touch with Angel using the messaging feature.

"It wasn't just like yeah right, it was backwards and forwards. Chat chat chat chat. With him being mobile I thought maybe it really is him he and the prize patrol are on the way to my house." 

Angel ended up giving him her name, address, phone and driver's license number. Then came the red flag that stopped her. She had to give $250 to get $20,000 in prize money. 

"I'm not one to usually fall for these things and I can not believe I let him scam me. Sometimes you know better but this is one of those times he really got me."

From facebook to the phone. Our next viewer got a call at home. The person on the other end told her she had won $1.4 million. To get the money, she needed to send them $2,000 on a money card by UPS and then the prize money would be hers.

"I said,'What's the catch'," says Willie Alston. "He didn't say anything for a few minutes. And then he said, it will cost you $2000 to receive the money and I said, 'Oh, that's the catch!'"

It is such a simple question, but one that should be asked often! In both cases, the biggest red flag is the request for money. If you win something, you never have to send money to get it. You will probably have to pay taxes on your winnings, but that happens later.

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