Consumer Tips and Information
"Congratulations!! You Are the Guaranteed Winner of One of the Following Great Prizes!"
Everyone would love to be the lucky winner of some fabulous prize. Con artists defraud people of millions of dollars by allowing them to think they have won something. In the excitement, people let down their defenses and soon find themselves losing their hard-earned dollars and getting nothing in return.
Must Pay to Win
Be extremely suspicious of telephone or mail offers of awards which sound "too good to be true." For you to receive any of these fabulous deals, you will be required to pay something --- perhaps for shipping, handling, taxes, or insurance costs. Be assured it will cost you greatly and you will receive little or nothing for your money.
Protect Your Financial Information
Sometimes you will asked to give your credit card number or checking account number in connection with a prize offer, either for payment or verification of your identity. Do not provide this information! These con artists have ways of withdrawing money off your credit card or checking account, without your permission. Sometimes the con artists will offer to have your check picked up right away at your home--another sign that a fraud may be underway.
If You've Been Scammed
If you believe you are a victim of a scam and you used your credit card, contact your credit card company in writing immediately. If you did not receive the prize you were promised, or if the items or prizes you did receive were not as they were promised, you may be able to challenge the charge.
You must write to your credit card company within 60 days of receiving the billing statement with the charge on it. Include in this correspondence your name, address, credit card number and a statement as to why you believe the charge is incorrect or further describing the problem. Also describe the steps you have taken to resolve your concerns with the merchant which billed you. While you are disputing a charge on your credit card you do not have to pay the credit card company for the charge providing you write to them as previously described.
Reporting the Scam
You may also wish to write a letter or fill out a complaint form with our office so we can notify the attorney general in the state the company is located. However, it is often difficult to get money back for telemarketing fraud victims. Remember--thousands of people a day are being offered the same supposedly "fabulous" deal that you are being offered --- be cautious and don't become a victim.
Consumer Complaint Form
To request further information or to file a complaint, write to:
Attorney General's Office
Consumer Protection Division
1300 E. Walnut
Des Moines, IA 50319.