FBI Targets Bogus $1 Million Oprah Winfrey Giveaway
Among the latest is the "Oprah Millionaire Contest Show," in which recipients are informed they have been "nominated" to appear on an episode of Winfrey's show where $1 million will be awarded. They are further told they must purchase – from the sender of the message – a transportation ticket to Chicago and pay to get into the show.
One such alleged scammer – apparently, "at least a dozen" exist, according to the Winfrey Web site – lists its return address as "Harpo Productions" at Studio 54 in Seattle. Winfrey's operations, which are indeed called Harpo Productions, are based in Chicago – and its show tickets are free.
The real Harpo Productions has issued a statement emphasizing that the company and the show "are not sponsors nor do we have any involvement whatsoever with this e-mail solicitation."
Individuals who receive such unauthorized solicitations are urged to file a report with the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which "accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the person who believes they were defrauded or from a third party to the complainant," says its Web site.