Consumer Watch: Chain letters

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 24 at 5:00 PM

(WHAS11) -- A popular scam is making the rounds and taking a new twist to get into your pocketbook.

It's a chain letter using the name of Oprah Winfrey and the ABC Show 20/20 to give it credibility.

First and foremost, chain letters are illegal in the U.S. under the Postal Lottery Statute.

Sending money through the mail with these things is against the law. “Someone on the list sends you a chain letter, asks you to send $6 and make a little investment to the next people in the chain letter and in the end, all you are is out the money and don't get much in return," says Reanna Smith-Hamblin from the Better Business Bureau.

In the letter, there is an online version to a link  breaking down your $6 investment and your promised $250,000 return. That is not going to happen. In reality, it's a $233 investment with a goose egg waiting for you.

"It's funny, it really is. These scam artists use big names like Oprah and 20/20 to try to lure you in, but in this case, it's not really a scam what it is is just a pyramid-scheme chain letter.

Both Oprah and 20/20 want you to know that they have nothing to do with this scam. They call it a preemptive strike trying to legitimize the chain letter using shows that often expose these kinds of crooks.

If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.

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