Beware the ‘National Consumer Protection Agency’

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Consumer Action is warning consumers about a new twist on the government imposter and sweepstakes scam.

Scam artists are calling and claiming to be from a fake government agency called the “National Consumer Protection Agency.” When the consumer answers the phone, they tell them that they’ve won hundreds of thousands of dollars from Universal Publishers Sweepstakes (or Publishers Clearing House). The scammers then tell the consumer that the National Consumer Protection Agency is issuing a final notice since Universal Publishers Sweepstakes hasn’t been able to contact them. The catch? In order to collect their prize, the consumer will need to pay the agency 10 percent of the winnings.

You should be aware that the government will never contact you regarding prizes or grants on behalf of an organization. Any request to send money to claim a prize is a sign of a scam.

Also, never provide financial information or account numbers to unsolicited callers. Funds sent via wire transfer or on a prepaid card are hard to track—or get back—once the scammers get the numbers. Such funds usually are not recoverable by law enforcement or banking officials.

If you ever question the legitimacy of a communication that claims to be from a government agency, contact the agency using information you find in the phone directory or online—don't use phone numbers or click on website addresses contained in the questionable communication—and ask if the message, letter or phone call is legitimate. Government agencies will have an official "dot gov" (.gov) website.

Consumers who believe they are victims of this fraud should contact their banks, their state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

Consumer Action offers many free multilingual publications on how to protect yourself from frauds and scams. Click here to view these materials. You can also follow Consumer Action's Alerts and Headline News on our homepage.

Consumer Action empowers low- and moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers nationwide to financially prosper through education and advocacy. SCAM GRAM is Consumer Action’s monthly e-newsletter alerting you to the dirtiest players in the world of tech fraud, credit card scams, ID theft and general con-artistry. Don’t be fooled by liars, cheats and crooks—wise up with SCAM GRAM! You can subscribe to this and other good stuff by entering your email address in the "Join our Email List" box on the right side of this page.




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