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Oct 14, 2013 by |

Sweepstakes Scams Are a Form of Financial Elder Abuse

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Sweepstakes scams continue to rack up victims, despite warnings to the public.  Often, senior citizens are the target of these types of scams.  Thus, sweepstakes scams are a form of financial elder abuse.  In a typical sweepstakes scam, a fraudster contacts an elderly victim and informs them that they have won a lottery.  The catch is that the elderly victim is then told that they must send in money in order to collect the sweepstakes prize.  California financial elder abuse attorneys warn senior citizens not to fall victim to sweepstakes scams.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it is putting an end to one large sweepstakes scam based in Ventura County.   The defendant in the case owned three companies that allegedly mailed out more than 3.7 million letters to people in more than 156 countries.  In this case, instead of asking for large sums of money from senior citizen victims, they asked for smaller sums of money.  California financial elder abuse attorneys warn the public not to fall for sweepstakes scams no matter how much money the fraudsters ask for.

In this case, the senior citizen victims received personalized letters with official looking seals, stamps and bar codes.  The seniors were told that they had won millions of dollars and could get the money by first sending in a small fee of $20-$30 within a limited period of time.  According to the Federal Trade Commission, the scam has brought in more than $11 million dollars, mostly from senior citizens.  California financial elder abuse attorneys say that senior citizens are often targeted for these kinds of mailings.

One of the letters that was mailed out as a part of this scam states that the victim has been chosen from a pool of 250,637 names.  There is fine print on the back of the letter that states that consumers will actually only receive lists of sweepstakes they can enter instead of a cash prize.  According to the Federal Trade Commission, the fine print does not clear the company of wrong doing because the claims are misleading and victims do not get what they are promised.  Frequently, people do not see the fine print and send in the $20-$30 fee.

Sweepstakes scams such as this are widespread and one of the top five scams targeting consumers, according to the Federal Trade Commission.  The fact that sweepstakes scams successfully target senior citizens makes them another form of financial elder abuse.

Evans Law Firm, Inc.  handles elder abuse cases in California.  If you think that you have witnessed or are the victim of elder abuse then, contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669 for a free and confidential consultation, or email info@evanslaw.com

 

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