A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear warns of recent scam involving impersonators of Attorney General’s office

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A new scam reported by the Attorney General’s office involves someone trying to impersonate the Attorney General’s office itself.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office was contacted on Friday after a Louisville resident received what appeared to be a letter from the Office of the Attorney General. It included 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.”

Andy Beshear

The letter 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.

However, 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 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. I would ask everyone to please reach out to my office on any questionable materials they receive, and to not take any action until you do.”

The Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection is actively working to recover the funds, 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.

American Family Publishers (later American Family Enterprises), which used to send out mass mailings with the pictures of Ed McMahon and Dick Clark saying “you may have already won $10,000,000” and sold magazine subscriptions, declared bankruptcy in 1999 following numerous class-action lawsuits and actions by states attorneys general, over deceptive advertising practices.

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