The calls started Wednesday morning, and came regularly through the afternoon. Loaded with laudatory remarks about being a winner of the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes.
“I remembered entering the sweepstakes,” says Harold Sisco of Boise. “But, I don’t remember when it was that I entered.”
By the time Mr. Sisco finished the phone call, he was told he would need to pay $1,000 for administrative fees, and $150 bond.
The instruction was to buy a money order, put it in a plain white envelope, with a blank sheet of paper, and mail it to Doral, Florida.
“By the time I was done, I’d talked to three different guys,” Mr Sisco says.
While Reader’s Digest is a BBB accredited business and does have a real sweepstakes. To check Reader’s Digest sweepstakes legitimacy, visit the legitimate Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes page at www.rd.com/sweepstakes. It states: “Winners receive an official notification letter in the mail from Ronald J. Leslie, Sweepstakes Director.”
“Our standard practice is NOT to notify winners by telephone and we never ask winners to remit payment in order to claim a prize.”
Don’t call the phone number on the notification. Use a trusted Reader’s Digest source. The customer service number is 1-800-310-2181.
Mr. Sisco had talked with Paul Johnson in New York, Nick McKenzie in Washington D.C., and Mike Petersen, Mike Cohen from New York.
BBB says never send money to receive sweepstakes winnings. Scams may ask for a credit card or bank account number, check, money order, wired money or other finances to pay for taxes, fees, shipping or other bogus reasons. In legitimate cases any fees would be taken out before winnings are received and taxes would be filed with tax returns to the IRS.
After talking with BBB, Mr. Sisco followed the advice and called the toll-free number, where he was told he had not won the sweepstakes.