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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 08, 2005
Consumer Alert: Callers Promising Prizes Asking for Personal Info


SPOKANE – Attorney General Rob McKenna warned consumers today to be wary of callers who claim you have won a gift certificate from a local business, and then ask for personal account information to withdraw a fee.

The Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau received several calls from consumers in the Spokane area who got cold calls indicating that they won a gift certificate for $500 from a local mall or grocery. The caller then claims that the amount is too small to issue a money order, and asks for a bank account number in order to withdraw a $4.95 transaction fee.

The calls appear to be originating from a company called Star Communications in Canoga Park, Calif. The caller typically identifies himself as “Prince Allen.”

“This follows the same pattern boiler rooms use to obtain personal information that could be used to steal funds or otherwise commit identity theft,” McKenna said. “Consumers should be wary when someone asks for money in exchange for a prize and they should never provide personal information to an unknown caller. Prizes should be free and legitimate businesses will not ask for a bank account over the phone.”

Consumers who receive such calls can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online at www.atg.wa.gov or by phone at (800) 551-4636, and with their local Better Business Bureau.

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For more information contact:

Kristin Alexander, (206) 464-6432, KristinA1@atg.wa.gov

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