Oprah's scam bait againWhen Oprah gives you a new car, she doesn't ask you to pay for it. But that's what's happening in a new scam that has prompted the Illinois Attorney General's office to warn consumers.

Unlucky callers who have been targeted are told they have won a new car in a sweepstakes sponsored by The Oprah Winfrey Show and Reader's Digest.
Then they're told that they have to pay as much as $500 and to wire the money or write a check to a third party in order to collect their new vehicle. Of course, no car ever shows up.

Harpo Productions, which produces the Oprah Winfrey show, says the fake calls started about a week ago. The Illinois Attorney General says that folks should use common sense - that if you're asked to pay money to receive a prize, chances are you're not a winner.

"Anytime you are asked to pay money to receive a prize, especially from a contest you did not even enter, you should assume it is a scam and stay away from it," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a statement. "Unfortunately, these scammers are using a well-known and trusted celebrity and magazine in an attempt to steal people's money."

Oprah's celebrity and renown for audience giveaways has made her obvious bait for con artists. Last year, her show warned viewers that an e-mail was going around announcing that the recipient had been nominated for the "Oprah Millionaire Contest Show," where the talk show goddess would give away $1 million. The FBI got involved on that one.

Anyone receiving fake news from Oprah should contact their attorney general's office or visit the Illinois Attorney General's office website to file a complaint.

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