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      Sweepstakes scams most reported scam to the Department of Consumer Affairs

      WEST COLUMBIA (WACH)-- Robert Denter's wife thought she hit the jackpot.

      The West Columbia couple received a letter saying they won a sweepstakes for more than a million dollars but after reading this letter Denter was sure it was a scam.

      "I called them and they said did you deposit the check yet. I said no not yet, they said go ahead and deposit it. It's a good check you won't have any trouble with it then send us $2900," said Denter.

      Denter's claim agent told him to send the money through Western Union to cover any expenses that may occur while collecting the jackpot.

      The insurance agent is no stranger to these types of scams and points out this isn't the first time he's received a winning letter and wants everyone to be aware, these scams look legit with real checks and professionally written letters.

      "Common sense says you don't do that but not everybody when they're needing money is going to use common sense, they're going to take any straw that they can," adds Denter.

      "It's just really difficult to prosecute someone when they're giving you a fake phone number, a fake name and are in the Philippines," said Juliana Harris.

      Harris with the Department of Consumer Affairs says sweepstakes and lottery scams are the mostly commonly reported scams.

      These scams can happen over the phone, through the mail or online, all asking you to deposit a check and wire a portion of the winnings back to claim your cash.

      "Just because it looks like a legitimate check and it has all the water marks or holograms or whatever does not necessarily mean that it's a real check. They can be stolen or easily manufactured to look like a real check," adds Harris.