BBB Warns of Lottery, Sweepstakes and Prize Scams

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In the middle of this pandemic, the Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana is still receiving inquiries and calls on scams.

A senior citizen in our area called us saying she received a check in the mail for $7,850, with a letter that indicated that she was the winner of an international lottery.

“You would think at this time, people would not be contacted, but those scams are still hitting consumers,” says Million. Consumers are wanting to fall for it, because obviously they are in need of funds.

The BBB wants the public to know if you receive a check saying you’ve won the lottery, know that this is a scam, and the check is bogus. What the scammers want you to do is call them, and they will give you instructions on how to deposit the check, and to either wire them money to buy a cash card then give them the numbers.

What consumers need to understand, is if they deposit that check, any money that they wire, spend or send, the bank will make them pay back. “If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is.”

Tips to Spot This Scam:

  • Don’t pay upfront fees to claim a prize. No legitimate sweepstakes company will ever ask you to pay a fee or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning — that includes paying “taxes,” “shipping and handling charges,” or “processing fees” to get your prize.
  • Be aware that a check can bounce even after your bank allows you to withdraw cash from the deposit. Check processing is a confusing business, as is the terminology. Even if a bank representative tells you that a check has “cleared” you can’t be sure it won’t be detected as a fake weeks later.
  • You’ve got to play to win. A notification that you have won a prize in a contest you do not remember entering should be a red flag.
  • Be suspicious of irregular communication. Real sweepstakes will not notify you via text or bulk mail. They will not send a check in the mail without first confirming with you.

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