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Attorney General Warns Vermonters About Wire Transfer Fraud

CONTACT: William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, (802) 656-8755

October 14, 2010

Attorney General William H. Sorrell is urgently warning Vermonters to be suspicious of any request to send money by wire transfer. Vermonters are currently being targeted for a variety of financial frauds including bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, phony rentals, and calls and emails from scammers posing as friends or relatives. “Our office has received reports from Vermont consumers targeted by these wire transfer scams, totaling over $35,000 in losses in the past two weeks alone. If someone contacts you and asks you to wire money for any reason, don’t do it without first calling my office at 800-649-2424.”

Vermonters are receiving phony lottery or sweepstakes award notices that often include a check as an “advance on the winnings.” The letters instruct the consumer to deposit the check, then contact the lottery or sweepstakes to arrange for payment of “taxes” or other fees. Consumers are then given instructions to send money by wire transfer. The check turns out to be fake, and the money sent by wire has to be repaid to the bank.

Vermonters are also receiving phone calls or emails from someone pretending to be a relative or friend in trouble urging them to send money by wire transfer. While these calls and emails can be distressing, anyone receiving such a call or email should verify the situation independently with another family member or friend.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.