Fake letter claims tax payment is required in order to collect prize money
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2017) – Today, Attorney General Andy Beshear issued a scam alert to warn Kentuckians of a prize scam circulating that uses the Office of the Attorney General to try and scare Kentuckians into sending money over wire transfer.
Beshear said his office was contacted today after a Louisville resident received what appeared to be a legitimate letter from the Office of the Attorney General – including an official looking seal, a photo of the attorney general and a fake signature – asking for state tax payment on a $5.5 million prize the resident allegedly won from “American Family Publishers.”
The letter specifically states that the “Money Monetary Law” applies to legal citizens who reside in Kentucky and receive a lump sum payment equal to or greater than $500,000, and instructed the resident to wire transfer $10,000 to an unknown bank account.
The resident responded by transferring the money.
Beshear said there is no “Money Monetary Law” in Kentucky that requires both the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of the Attorney General to work together to collect state income taxes for prize winnings, as the letter claims.
The Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection is actively working to recover the funds the resident transferred, and is warning all Kentuckians to be on the lookout for this scam.
Beshear said the best way to identify a prize scam is to know that legitimate sweepstakes do not make you pay a fee in order to win, and that includes paying taxes and shipping or processing fees.
“The fact that these scammers are impersonating the very office working to shut them down is beyond belief and shows the extent they are willing to go to scam Kentuckians,” Beshear said. “My office is working hard to find those behind this scam and every other scam that families and seniors are faced with every day. With Kentuckians facing this and similar scams that mimic my office, I would ask everyone to reach out on any questionable materials they receive from those claiming to be with the attorney general’s office, and to not take any action until doing so.”
To report a scam to the Office of the Attorney General, dial 888-432-9257 or file a consumer complaint online.
To stay up to date on new and trending scams Kentuckians should sign up to receive Scam Alerts from the Office of the Attorney General. To enroll, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.