Alert: Phishing and Sweepstake Scams
Scam perpetrators are using the Principal Financial Group name and "Cardmember Services" to gain personal information and money through phishing and sweepstake scams.
Auto-Dialer Telemarketing/Phishing Scam Alert – May 1, 2009
The Principal Financial Group has been notified that perpetrators of a phishing scam are placing auto-dialer telemarketing calls to cell phone numbers to gain personal information. The perpetrators claim to work for "Cardmember Services" and provide a phone number for individuals to call. We have reason to believe that this is a phishing scam, not affiliated with the Principal Financial Group, Principal Bank or the corporate credit card, where identity theft perpetrators are attempting to obtain passwords and personal data which may include address, date of birth, social security number, etc. If you receive this type of cell phone message, we recommend that you avoid calling the number and delete the message.
According to the Attorney General's Office, there are ways that you can avoid becoming a victim of this type of scam. For example, you should always avoid replying to e-mails, calls or text messages that ask for your password, account or personal information. If you question the validity of the communication, contact the referenced company yourself at its regular business phone number.
Sweepstakes Scam Alert – May 1, 2009
Perpetrators of sweepstake scams are illegally using the Principal Financial Group logo and Principal Life Insurance Company name and address as the issuer of $7,850.75 and $1,979.15 checks. The perpetrators have been distributing letters and checks within the past week notifying various individuals throughout the United States that they are the winners of a "Super Strike Super Luck Draw" or prize money through Medway Financial Group (Washington) or West Coast Financial Services and Consultants (Georgia). The Principal Financial Group and Principal Life Insurance Company located in Des Moines, Iowa, are not affiliated with the listed entities and do not participate in this type of drawing or sweepstakes.
The prize notification letter typically implies that the individual has won thousands of dollars and instructs them to call a prize agent as soon as possible to obtain instructions. To claim the winning prize, the agent further instructs the individual to deposit a check that was enclosed with their letter and use that money to submit administration and insurance fees.
We have encountered this type of scam in the past and believe that the perpetrators are using several temporary phone numbers and operating from multiple locations. The check that accompanies the letter is fraudulent. Once an individual pays the administration and insurance fees, they will never receive the winning prize money. Unfortunately, the perpetrators of this scam are using the names of reputable companies (such as the Principal Financial Group and Principal Life Insurance Company) to appear legitimate.
Our company has reported this matter to the Iowa Attorney General's office. If you have received this type of correspondence, we highly recommend that you do not cash or deposit the check and encourage you to report the situation to the Consumer Services Division of your local Attorney General's office.