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Prize Scams: Don’t Pay to Play

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You get a phone call from an excited caller saying you’ve won a trip, a car, or a lot of money. Next, they ask you to send money before you get the prize. That is a sure sign of a scam.

Recently, we’ve heard about a spike in prize scam calls. Although there are some legitimate contests, remember: there are a lot of scams. Here are a few ways to spot a prize scam:

  • Scammers ask you to pay before you can claim your prize. Legitimate sweepstakes don’t make you pay a fee or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning. Scammers might try to sound official and say it’s for “taxes,” “shipping and handling charges,” or “processing fees.”  Don’t pay to claim a prize, and never give your checking or credit card number for a sweepstakes promotion.
  • Scammers ask you to wire money to “insure” delivery of your prize. Don’t do it. Legitimate sweepstakes don’t ask you to wire money. Once you wire money, you can’t get it back. The same goes for sending a check or money order by overnight delivery or putting money on a prepaid debit card.
  • Scammers send you a check and ask you to send some of the money back. But the check is fake, and you’re responsible for repaying the bank.
  • Scammers use the names of well-known companies for prize scams. Con artists often pretend to call from well-known companies to make themselves appear legitimate and gain your trust. If you don’t remember entering, you probably didn’t. If you think it may be legit, use a search engine to find the company’s real phone number. Call to confirm that you entered a contest before responding to any claims that you won.

If you’re suspicious of a prize offer, report it to us.

Tagged with: prize, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Two people I want to report. Michael Chitwood, and Free Stuff Club and freebie Mama freebie moms

File a report with the FTC at information you give will go into a database that law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I keep getting a pm message saying i won a large amount of money to claim these winning i first had to pay Fed ex in advance for delivery charge also give a portion of my winnings to the Fed Ex delivery person to show appreciation, is this more likely a scam?

Well my My husband apparently won two separate times the 1st one was Facebook. A woman by the name of Mari smith she also gose by smithmari708 on instagram. She messaged my husband saying that he won $500,000.00 through some kind of lottery that Facebook has been doing.
I will edmit we both were stupid and fell for it. She also cave us this phone #424-377-4993 and said that that was Mark Elliot Zuckerberg #
They asked us to get 2 $100 amazon gift cards and send 2 pics of them with the receipt and another showing the back with the code when we did that then he's said that we had to pay a sum of $ 650 for an AIRPORT CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE witch we did not and are not paying for. And if you refuse they keep hounding you.
And the second is on instagram a woman by the name of Julie Leach and her agent Wesley james says he won more money and his phone # is 315-810-2907 he to is hounding us to pay $150 steam cards. Now that they got it they are now asking for another $50 because they got a flat tire and we have to pay for that.

Jonh from Washington DC is still at it but it's now at 8.5 mil

I got a call from 9958032726 saying they are from E commerce campany called bag it to buy. N i have been selected for prize of scooty.N they will organized a big event for felicitation. And before that they wanted me to visit thier wep site and pay a fee of Rs 2999. I think its a scam. Caution pls

I'm sorry

I played that game for over 2 years and spent hundreds of $$... Then last week I FINALLY GET INTO THE PRIZE CAVERN...
The next day,my account was suspended...
All bc I got into the Prize Cavern..
That game is a joke,a scam, and the person/persons running it should be banned from taking others money and making promises that they NEVER int me to keep

Just received a notification from Pinnacle Heights, Inc informing my wife that she had won $450,000 prize from a survey. They sent a $5,950.45 check to cover “tax, insurance and other handlings” and says to call claim agent, Mike Denis at 1-403-606-4794. I’m positive this is a scam but thought I should notify the FTC.

I wanted to know i gave my name when ask about my income i put nothing on it what i want to know is this a scam this person said if you want free money he can help you if you pay him $500 within 24 hours a box will be at your door and in that box will be $40.000,00 in cash is that cash counterfeit or real it looks real and how you paid is western union or a Amazon gift card
Please help me out on this.

800-998-0548 is a SCAMMER, they offer a Bahamas cruise for $65, even if you answer NO to the survey when asked do you want to go to the Bahamas? you're switched to a live person, I asked numerous times WHY I was called? She kept saying I took the survey and threatened to hang up... I finally hung up.

So I have somebody from lucktastic saying he is a CEO and that I won $150,000 with a $10,000 cash bonus is that a fake or a fraud or real because of the fact that I have to pay are he said I have to pay six hundred and something dollars to be able to receive the $10,000 cash.

Twitter promo said I won 500,000 and all I need to do is pay 960$ to international monatary fund and 2,900$ to IRS not a tax but an assurance policy basically an insurance policy to cash chech.
I had 4 different people email text hangout Twitter telling me pay it checks real ,I blocked everyone and went to bed.

I have had the last 3 days of a fedex man says that i have to get a Amazon gift card for $50 dollars and scratch the back and take a picture of it send it to him so he can deliver my winnings e day of texting me just for $ 50 wat does it sound like to u ?


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