Sweepstakes Scam Letters:
Unclaimed Sweeps Advisory
Have you received an letter with a check from "Unclaimed Sweeps Advisory" telling you that "Unclaimed
Sweeps Advisory has identified $____ in non-disbursed funds that are currently
pending payment, but still remain unclaimed? It is a scam.
These are fraudulent notices of large cash entitlements or awards. These notices are
typically mailed from Miami, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada, and claim the
recipients will receive or are owed a large amount of money. Many of the letters also contain a check
made payable to the
addressee. As these checks are realistic looking forgeries drawn on real bank
account numbers (stolen), attempts to cash these checks could result in criminal charges.
Attempting to cash an illegitimate check, even if made out to you, and even if
you cannot tell that it is a counterfeit, and even if the bank thinks it is
real, can cause a legal issue, including arrest, for you.
The senders of these notices each request an enrollment, processing or
registration fee (usually twenty dollars) payable to the sender. Senders names
include but are not limited to:
- Allocated Disbursement Authority
- Awardable Entitlement Pooling System
- Awards Compliancy Commission
- Bureau of Cash Acquisition
- Cash Advisory Agency
- Commission of Sweepstakes Compliancy
- Continental Prize Commission
- Department of Cash Reporting
- Department of Investigative Research
- Division of Currency Claims
- Division of Monetary Resources
- Elective Prize Resource Pool
- Entry Entitlement Services
- Financial Acquisition Agency
- Monetary Entitlement Resources
- Prize Research Intelligence Agency
- Public Administrators Office
- Unclaimed Sweeps Advisory
The majority of these letters also contain a fine print legal disclaimer
which can be easily overlooked by the reader. Below is an example of the scam; this
letter claims to
be from the "Unclaimed Sweeps Advisory".
The Federal Trade Commission has charged some of the scammers in federal
court, but it appears that others have continued the scam.
According to a complaint filed by the FTC, a fraudulent sweepstakes operation
has violated federal law by sending personalized mail to millions of consumers
nationwide, falsely telling them that they have won a substantial cash prize,
often said to be worth more than $3 million, even though no prizes were awarded.
Urging consumers to respond immediately by sending $20 in order to receive
their prize, some of the mailers described an as-yet “uncollected” but
“confirmed prize” in the consumer’s name; some mailers represented that
“unawarded money” has been “located and documented” in their name; and other
mailers mentioned “Authorization to Disburse” and referred to a “guaranteed
cash/prize amount” in the seven-figure range, according to the complaint.
The complaint also alleges that the mailers sometimes contained small print
that vaguely referred to a “newsletter” produced by the defendants, but not
expressly informing the recipients that they had not won a prize. Instead of
prizes, some consumers received information about how to enter sweepstakes, and
some consumers received more mailers soliciting more money and suggesting that
the consumers had won other prizes.
Defendants named in the complaint, all Nevada-based, are
- National Prize Information Group Corp. (NPIGC),
- d/b/a Las Vegas Actionable Awards Program,
- Prize Search Express, Department of Unclaimed Awards,
- United States Sweepstakes Advisory,
- United States of America Patriotism Awards,
- National Bureau of Prize Information,
- Lapham Vargas and Cornell,
- Director’s Office, and
- John Rincon, individually, and as an NPIGC officer.
The FTC charged them with violating Section 5 of the FTC Act, seeking a
temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction, and a freeze of their
The action was brought with extensive assistance from the the Las Vegas
office of the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Better Business
Bureau of Southern Nevada. The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the
complaint was 5-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Nevada.
Copies of the
complaint are available from the
FTC’s Web site and also
from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
Require the winner to pay - U.S. federal law
prohibits sweepstakes from charging you for anything, not "delivery",
couriers, taxes, fees, handling charges, or anything else!
Here is a typical scam sweepstakes winning notification.
Actual scam email (One example - the scammers constantly change
names, dates and addresses!):
Keywords: Payment pending memorandum
Re: pending cash disbursal awaiting claim and payment
Note the illegible signature with no printed name.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair
business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help
consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish
(bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free
information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP
(1-877-382-4357), or use the
complaint form. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and
other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database
available to thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the
U.S. and abroad.
Names of Scam / Fake / Fraud Lottery
Click here for the huge list of the names of the currently identified lottery