Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford advises Nevadans to be on alert for scammers who hold themselves out as legitimate companies, nonprofits or government entities and lure in unsuspecting victims by claiming that the victim was selected to receive a prize or benefit.
“Many scammers prey on our desire to win, get things for free or get a good deal,” said AG Ford. “Unfortunately, those giveaways are usually too good to be true. Nevadans should remain on alert to avoid falling for these imposter scams.”
Scammers may use threats and intimidation to coerce victims into giving them money and personal information. However, scammers can also use a different tactic to lure in victims – enticement. In these imposter scams, the scammer pretends to be (or be affiliated with) a legitimate business, nonprofit or government entity and tells the victim that he or she will receive a benefit such as money, a prize, lower interest rate, grant or debt forgiveness.
However, in order to receive the benefit in these scams, the victim must first make an up-front payment or provide personal information to the scammer.
Similar to scams using intimidation, scammers that use enticement will contact victims using many different methods of communication, including social media accounts, email, mail, phone calls, prerecorded messages and texts.
The scammers will ask for payment through various payment methods, including Venmo, Zelle or other payment apps; gift cards; or wire transfer. These are popular forms of payment for scams because, once the scammer has the card information, they can quickly obtain the funds and the money cannot be recovered.
There is no shortage of creativity when it comes to scams, but it is good to know that many scammers follow a similar path. In an enticement scam, the scammer will first contact you and claim that you have been selected to receive some sort of benefit. They may claim to be from the government and claim that you are eligible for a grant or tax credit. Additionally, they may claim to be affiliated with a legitimate business and are reaching out to inform you that you are eligible for loan forgiveness, or that you are the winner of a prize, including vacations, time shares, property or money.
If you receive any sort of communication claiming you qualify for a benefit or prize, use the following tips to avoid enticement related scams:
- Take some time to assess the situation before taking any action. Any claim that you must act quickly in order to receive a benefit is a red flag;
- Call a friend, family member or coworker and tell them your situation. Often, talking about these matters with trusted people in your life can help you identify and avoid a scam;
- If the person who contacted you sets a condition for receiving the benefit, such as making a payment or providing personal information, they are likely trying to scam you;
- Do not give money or personal information to people you do not know. Remember that the government will not contact you and ask you to make payments in order to receive a benefit, and legitimate giveaways usually do not operate by asking you to make payments in order to receive a prize. Once a scammer has your data, they can take money from you or sell your information to other scammers; and
- Be skeptical of any unsolicited call or message. If someone contacts you offering a benefit that seems too good to be true, it is usually because it is.