Telephone Sweepstakes Scam Alert

The Ocean City Police Department is investigating a series of telephone scams involving fraudulent sweepstakes.   The scam, which targets an un-suspecting victim, is perpetrated by calling the victim and advising them that they have won a sweepstakes.  The victim is instructed in order to receive the large sweepstakes prize they must go to a convenience store or drug store and purchase either a Green Dot, Money Pac Reload Card for a certain amount of money usually between $200.00 and $500.00. Once the victim has purchased the card they are instructed to contact the scammer who is pretending to be a sweepstakes representative who will process the winning claim.  The victim is asked to provide the Green Dot, Money Pac Reload Card information over the telephone as a means of verification the victim has actually completed the task.

The result of this is that the scammer will use the information provided by the victim to redeem the value of the card that was purchased and the victim will be out the money.

The Ocean City Police Department is reminding citizens that legitimate sweepstakes require that you enter to win; if you did not enter a sweepstakes, you should not be named as a winner.  Legitimate sweepstakes will not ask you for a “processing fee” and federal and state taxes are usually deducted from the sum total of the winning amount prior to the sweepstakes winner receiving the final pay out.

Citizens should never provide personal information including social security numbers, birth dates, passwords or home addresses to unknown “businesses or individuals.  Also, never give out banking information or credit card account numbers over the phone to persons or businesses you cannot verify as legitimate.  

Criminals can take advantage of us when we are at our most vulnerable.  By practicing a few easy proactive measures and reporting these types of scams, citizens can make it tough for criminals to take advantage of you.  Never make on-line or telephone transactions with credit cards that are directly linked to your checking/savings or money market accounts.  In addition, bank and credit card accounts should be routinely monitored for suspicious and unauthorized transactions.

If you feel someone has attempted to scam you or you have been the victim of a scam or there is unauthorized activity occurring on any of your financial accounts (bank or credit) immediately contact your financial institution and report the issue.  If you are the victim of a theft report the theft to your local law enforcement agency.