What To Know About Prize Scams

What To Know About Prize Scams

(USNewsBreak.com) – Scammers are always looking for ways to con people out of their hard-earned money. One of the ways they do this is by alerting someone that they’ve won a substantial amount of cash or a high-tech item, for example. But there’s always a catch — and that’s how you can tell whether it’s a scam.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are three ways to recognize a con. Scammers will send out a letter, email, or even call you to say you’ve won something, but you’ll need to pay to collect it. That’s the first sign that something is amiss. They try to be smooth, saying the payment simply covers a processing fee, taxes, or shipping and handling. But once you pay, you’re out that money with nothing to show for it. Sometimes, they even try to come back for more afterward.

Second, scammers may also ask you to pay to increase your odds of winning. However, legitimate sweepstakes never charge a fee to enter, and ultimately, an entry beats the odds to win. Offering to provide better odds for a fee delegitimizes the contest.

Finally, if someone asks for your financial information to claim your “prize,” run, don’t walk. You’re at even more risk once a criminal has your credit card or bank account information.

Bad actors may try to trick you in several ways. They may claim to represent a legitimate organization or create a fancy government agency name to make it sound more authentic. In this event, you can always call the company directly to inquire. Make sure you look up the contact information yourself; don’t trust a number given to you; it could be a fake.

If you’ve become the victim of a lottery prize scam, rest assured you’re not alone. The con artists can be very persuasive, leading to the need for warnings in the first place. As a first step, contact your local law enforcement and give them all the information about the scam. You can also reach out to the FTC directly at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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