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Winners are losers in lottery & sweepstakes scams

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You get a card, call, or email telling you that you won! Maybe it’s a lottery, sweepstakes, or some other prize. The person calling is excited and can’t wait for you to get your winnings.

But here’s what happens next: they tell you there’s a fee, some taxes, or customs duties to pay. They ask for your bank account information, or ask you to send money via a wire transfer or to purchase gift cards and provide the card numbers.

Any way you send it, you lose money instead of winning it. You don’t get a big prize. Instead, you get more requests for money, and more promises that you won big. Scammers can be very convincing, and who wouldn’t want to win big!

Lottery and sweepstakes scams are one of the most common consumer frauds operating today. According to the FTC, these scams were the third-most common type of fraud reported to the agency in 2017.

Earlier this year, the FTC took action against an operation we alleged targeted older people with phony sweepstakes offers. The company sent mailers that made people think they had won $1 million (or more!), and that the recipient only needed to pay a small fee to claim it.

Help us help you and others by using the FTC’s top tips to avoid lottery and sweepstakes scams:

1. Keep your money – and your information – to yourself. Never share your financial information with someone who contacts you and claims to need it. And never wire money to or share gift card numbers with anyone who asks you to. Both payment methods are a sure sign of a scam.

2. Pass this information on to a friend. You probably throw away these kinds of bogus offers or hang up when you get these calls. But you probably know someone who could use a friendly reminder.

3. If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at Your report can help FTC investigators identify the scammers and stop them before they steal someone’s hard-earned money.

Scam Tags:  Prize & Grant Scams


Just like you, we get this threat and also 6 of my extended family members get this call almost daily. They claim to be the IRS and is calling to collect back taxes. They threaten to put them in prison. For some people this would be frightening.

PCH is the biggest RIP-OFF out there plz Shut PCH down plz!!!!!!!!

Yes I know the feeling there I want one I seen it on where play games I've won Publishers Clearing House I won I didn't get no money I played a couple more on here I won I didn't get no money I want big two where they got coming up


I advertised two items on Craigslist and received an immediate response to buy. They even offered a lot more than i was asking.When I received their check it was for $2000.00. My item was for $400.00. They texted my constantly about cashing the check. I took it to our bank and told them the story. My bank turned the check in as a fraud. They contacted me again and sent another $2000.00 check. The person was pretending to be two people. They were using two different phone numbers.Last check I tore up.

Patti LABEELE giving away $10,000 is a SCAM.
Anyone asking you to sendnew to Africa in order to receive your money is a BIG SCAM!

Wait!! You mean pch commercials on TV is all a scam!

I keep getting all kinds of mail on my Chrome App. Saying I got $thousands of dollars. All have to do is click and verify email. I haven't clicked on yet but the name that sends these are pushmellan. Beware they are out of Canada and are New

I have been played so many times thinking that I won money and never received anything wow how can people keep getting away with there ever going to be a stop to this,cause I will really love to win some money.

The former director of the FBI? emails me. and I am to wire to africa a money clear my name of a deposit to money account in my name: frozen! Comey? do you think it could be a scam?

Yes, this is a scam. I worked for years at a service counter where we provided western union services. We saw a lot of this unfortunately. Please don't send them money.

I have following victim to this and they have my cell phone number, but I kept all there information and name. Who can I send it to

You can report that to the FTC at The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don’t go into the law enforcement database.

I hope the FTC is obtaining the list of "SCAM LIKELY" identified calls on millions of cell phones throughout America. If the cell phone companies are capable of identifying and sending "SCAM LIKELY" to cell phones, I see no reason all hardwired (home/work phones)can't block such calls which are wasting Americans valuable time.

FACT: Doing something for 60 seconds one time per day = 6hours of accumulated time in a year. Wife and I typically receive 1 to 2 of these per day. Causing me to drop what I'm doing.

Many of these scammers target people with older names (such as Oscar, Mable, Winifred, Homer) because they are likely to be senior citizens who come from an era when a handshake deal was reliable and a mans word was kept.

Best rules of thumb: verify that they are legit. Call the wire transfer companies fraud hotline & explain the call you received & ask if it's a scam or contact the FTC with questions. Never give out your account info or gift card #s.

Popular scams where victim is asked to wire transfer money:

Victim receives call from a supposed officer of the law stating that a relative is in jail in Canada or Mexico & needs bail money sent today or they'll have to spend 30 days in jail there....maybe more.
Victim receives call from supposed IRS or FBI & is told they owe a bunch of money & will lose everything they own if they don't immediately wire said money.
Victim receives repeated calls from a supposed missionary requesting money be wired to help build a school or hospital or church in some underdeveloped country.
Victim receives call from supposed Publishers Clearing house, is told they won but need to wire money for the taxes.

Today, PCH is to deliver my winning prize. I am still waiting. I

They keep sending me emails

l was scam by the people and companies of $60.000 in Qakbrook,terace,law firm of Walter Kosch suite,300 two trans am plaza by Thomas Lupina Allen Karr,Mark Ruzzo president ,Robert Piso,treasure,Kim Winslow of Pearl Developmentand Oyester bay beach terort Az,Interval International Travel .florida.St,marten,Islands in Nenetherlandsa country out of the continental united states of america this a billions scams against the seiors stealing from our hard working monies from Chicago pentions fund of tax payers.

You can report scams to the FTC at The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

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

Don't use yvita... FALLEN VICTIM ON MANY OCCASIONS? Once fooled shame on them. Twice fooled shame on you.


NO.516-447-7728 AND THEN REFERRED TO PCH AT 929-314-2048
SAID i WON 1 MILLION DOLLARS, A MERCEDES AND $7000.00 /week---just wanted to register and give $650.62 to verify identity. He was good and kept me on the line for 30min. but kept referring to me in a personal unprofessional way as "dear" or "honey"----I finally said just come with the money -and hung up. It was fun even considering the possibility. BEWARE!!

I have been contacted by Clifford Harris from T.I.P. sweepstakes from Facebook told me that I was the big winner of the amount of $50,000 that I did have to pay for anything to get it. Boy was I happy. Then he asked me for my bank account information so he could send it to me direct deposit. So I gave it to him. Next he said he needed my password and username??? So I gave him a fake one. When it didn't go through he told me that something was wrong. Then I told him to just send it to me by mail in a check. He didn't want to do that. So then he asked me to send him $100 Amazon gift card
So I did next thing I know he said he needed a nother one to get it activated. So I sent another one. Now it is $200 I sent him. He then gave me a fake usup tracking number for another address. I was tracking it and it went to and address in AR. So by this time I was mad still am. So just yesterday he gets back up with me and telling me that he needs a $50 for a red tag to get the check that he said he could not send me in the first place. Now he is waiting for me to send him another $50. Not going to happen. Oh I have copies of everything.

I contacted the FBI, GBI, Attorney General, Postal , you name it I did it! $29,000+ later no one can do anything. Legally get mail from person a who does this . 51 pounds in 3 weeks of fake sweepstakes all started by Publishers Clearing House. Shame on them and all the crooks and no one can help. After having POA for Alzheimer’s father, 2 years later, I have gotten 3 scam sweepstakes this week. Really!

A Jennifer Silva (LV 702-997-1422),a Machew Lam and a Jack Burke (1-866-798-6061, claiming to be in the Federal storage of the BigIsland,HI) are calling me everyday, several times , convincing me to send my check of $3000 to Wanda Aiea of 845036 Kelaa SP0 Keawe Rd. HI 96704 to register my winning. None of these people say anything more about themselves but this is private and confidential. My winning is a second prize $1,250,000) as an anniversary promo of the AMERICAN SWEEPSTAKES. I'm suspicious, even if they gave me addresses, which they say will refund my money after I receive my prize. They won't release my prize if I do not send them the fee. Please tell me if this is a scam ... I am almost convinced that I send the money to their "accountant" Wanda Aina
Thank you

If you get a surprise call and someone says you won a huge prize, but they want you to pay THEM - it's probably a scam. 

They might say it's for a fee, or taxes or to "register your prize." They might promise to refund your money later. But if you send money, you will probably lose it. And you won't get any prize.

I received the same call yesterday from the same people you mentioned, even the dollar amounts were the same but the phone numbers are different, what I have researched is this is a scam with several people involved. thanks for your input.

i was scammed on Saturday 7-7-18 someone called stating they were dave sayer from pch(publishers clearing house )and I fell for it hook line and sinker. gave them all my private info in calling pch they let me know it was all a scam pch never calls anyone don't fall for this scam

Can I win the nation wide sweepstake lottery

I was scamed by someine from megamillion lottery, first they told me i won the 2nd chance lottery, i do play that. Then they told me my state have a 1% tax fee. 100 is all they told me to pay cause they had helped me with the rest, then they said that the person couldn't pick it up cause that agent was off that day so can you send 100 to a new agent and yoy can get the first 100 refunded. The first 100 was picked up along with the second and was told that my state needed 500 now for a red stamp or my winnings is going to charity. No money or prize was given to me. But there are more scams calling now. Don't know if one could be real, cause i just don't trust them.

My dad is being scammed and we are having a hard time convincing him. The president of the US MegaMillions from Las Vegas MegaMillions told him to put JohnnyCash14 @ on his bank account. The bank is useless and lets this happen while the POA we have is not being honored by BB&T. What a mess!

I am having this problem too with my mother now. What were you able to do? How did you convince your father to stop giving this scammer his money? Thanks for any advice or information.

I got texts from (402) 512-3028 claiming to be from PCH. They told me that I had to wire them $550 or being it to their main office in Washington, DC. However, this person gave me no name, no credentials, no address or anything, only sent me a link to the PCH website after I repeadly asked what company he was affiliated with. I told them I did not have that kind of money to send someone I didn't know, so then they began harassing me on what I could afford. So after a few days of them constantly texting me at random times of the day and night, that's when I decoded to report it. I am a single mom of a 4 year old autistic son. My fiance died 3 years ago. I live paycheck to paycheck, and I don't have money to just blow. I told the person harassing me that $550 is what I pay for rent and I can barely afford that as it is let alone to send it to someone in the hopes it's not a scam. Even after I told them all that, they still kept harassing me and asking me how much I could afford to pay and if I was ready to make a payment. It's just really sad they do this to innocent people! At least I used my better judgment this time.

Call from an "employee" who gave his name, a badge number, and a whole lot of other "info" claiming to be from National Recovery Service said I won 2.6 million dollars and would be receiving an certified check from Bank of America that would be delivered by Homeland Security and NRS reps and attorneys in a couple of days. In addition, I would also receive $355,000 cash and a Mercedes. However, I must send $3,500 money order for taxes on car to specified individual in Florida (supposedly a personal banker). Delivery time for car/money= 4-5 days. And Bank of America has supposedly also paid $96,000 taxes on my behalf. Glad I read about the Telemarketing Sales Rule before sending money! Now we'll just wait and see about the rest.

I received a call from 876-534-9749 which said Kingston JM the man told me that my husband had won 2.5 million dollars and a car from PCH and I needed a claim number which he gave me and he gave me a number to call 516-858-5648 and said I needed to call right away and ask for James Carter which I didn't do just did not sound right and a few minutes later he was calling back I didn't answer. Be careful everyone.

I’m too suspicious of anything free! I would never give my banking info or send money to anyone under these circumstances. Today I received a very legit postal envelope with a check for $1850 with instructions on buying eBay gift cards with the money and keeping $400 for the survey of these retailers. My first clue was there was no return address, then no number to call and ask questions. It took me one minute to search frauds and of course it was just as I suspected a FRAUD. I hope no one falls for these attempts at stealing our hard earned money. Please advise your parents and help them. My mother always wanted to win the PHC big money for very unselfish reasons, she longed to give all of her children money. Bless her heart she rarely ordered from PHC, but instead saved her meager money and died at age 95 leaving her 8 children with an inheritance. My heart goes out to our elderly who are targeted.

my husband a retiered painter worked for many years for a good life is 70 i went to the bank yesterday to see what damage he has done to our bank acct we are broke due to a scam telling him he won millions and 4 cars he had to keep sending money by the time i got wind of this months later we are broke im so sick right know and mad at how stupid can he be

Received call from 876-364-4154 claiming to be UPS and they had a delivery because I won some lottery. Needless to say they hung up on me

Just got one i won tagged lottery of 2 million i don't believe that so type really write scam

They calling my phone now with a number with my area code on there. Then when I andwer, it's somebody from India trying to get me to get something.

I got a phone call from an attorney in New York saying I won $500 000. It was an International Consumers Sweepstakes. I was to pay a tax fee that would be refunded to me. A lawyer by the name of Henry Brenner has for the past 3 days and I started asking a lot of questions and of course he hung up on me. Before he did he said by the look of my tax records I was capable of paying the fee. I told him that he could not get any information like that . I knew he was lying. Don't be fooled by this scam.

anybody ever heard of a scam involving Alliance Bernstein in NY claiming you won millions and the contact person is Mark Pearson which is a legit name of a board member of this legit company. Your options are you can fly to Luxemburg and get your money or pay a lawyer in FL $1,800 to wire money to Citibank in NY. Then that Mark Pearson will make arrangements to fly the money to your personal bank and hand you a check then take you out to lunch afterwards.

Richard Danell says he is the CEO of Mega Millions Sweepstakes. Bogus as he answers the phone himself, no secretary. 24/7. strange? His e-mail is richarddanell7 @gmail. com using your name and bogus stationery. I have already contacted as to this incidence. He continues to try to contact me via phone @ 575- xxx xxxx 575-xxx xxxx His phone is 509-342-7732

I got scammed by a man saying he worked for the CPA and was following up on why I did not respond to a letter from the PCH. After being scammed for $11,000.00, I reported to the authorities and did not hear from them. That was one year ago in November. I really don't believe the authorities want to squash these SCAMMERS. I have all the info needed to bring these parasites to JUSTICE, but no one has contacted me. WHAT A DISGRACE!!!!

I received a call that I was the winner of a check for 5 million dollars. I was told that I was a very lucky lady and he talked with me about how I should pick a public or private deliver of the check in a day at two o'clock PM. he said I only have to give him 900.00 before they can bring it. I said I would give it when I received the check. He hung up. II have his phone no. (1-800-424-7459)

a So called company in Alabama took me for 1 year and still want more. 300. 00 Monday 250.00 Wensday 360.00 Friday. late fees reschedual delivery charges. I won a Truck they said and i owe a payment paid insurance on it 3 times remember i paid every payment they wanted for this prize money to be delivered to me the year 2018 the name of this company they are homeland company. i am down to paying a tow truck to deliver. i paid the tow truck last week 250.00 to del. they said they del. but i didnt ansewer my house phone. and tow truck driver didn't see anyone at my house but a drunk in my yard and left. since i missed him the tow truck driver will delivery fee again to this day for another 120.00. i live on 1 lane road and watched the street the whole day. no tow truck came up or down this road all day. do you think i should pay a measly 120.00 to see if it's true I have threaten to go to attorney general office and see if some one knows any of these pepole here every day Foster said she goes there every day . they told me my package will cost me more if i go there. and if i find out it's legeit they will cancel the package.

I done paid every payment.
the company goes by Homeland Company
Names are Mr Reid, Mrs Foster,
Mrs Rodreiguz supervisor
Mr Roach big man in the company he goes to vegas to get new names.
Mrs karen Watson delivery person and tells you what your payments are
these payments are cent to Jamaica to Sharon Dodd. and Mcoya
i got her last name on a reciept.
I would love to see the 2.5 million and a truck i think insurance almost up again my gas coupons added stuff now i get all my money that i sent back.

has any one heard of them? did you get your package? they said they made a lot of deliveries to Simms road in Oneonta. yesterday Foster said she is talking to a woman in Birmingham. I can't tell if it's scam or not. I call her one and a conn artist. She keeps saying it's not a scam or a conn, they wont show nothing to prove it.
What do you do in this situation? 120.00 left and they deliver.

every time you get what the payment is they say you will get it. they will deliver. You send it and here is some of of what i made payments on truck insurance 3 times thats 560.00 , wife benificiaray and it has to be her to get the reciept in her name thats 350.00. oh the gas coupons are dated and expiares thats 320.00. then if you can't make the delivery drop a rescheual fee and all payments time sencetive.started for me 35.00 a day its 25.00 now. and they act like since you took to long to pay they had to put the money in the vault now you have taxes and a fee to get that back to delivery fees again. all this time you are sending your money money gram they charge 10. fee and now you send to many payments that way and money gram thinks you are a terriost and stop you from sending in your name. then you got to find someone to send for you.

I have been playing for over 8 yrs. I have collected over 212,000,000 tokens and played over 2 million games. I have won "0.00$"

I got the a scam about a miracle cure, are they really true? Or just a thing to get money? I think some are true and some aren't.

I feel that I've won like they say i have then i gotta go threw a thousand thibg n still dob get no k8nda of incentive after giving out all my information

Hi I won a contest on facebook about a mobile, I entered by sharing and liking there page and comment done. home I asked for there web site and they sent me this mobilehome. and they toll me they were a Logitment company they said I'm the true winner you don't have to be bothered, now global logics is asking for a shipping payment, and by ticket was drawn through a computer bailout system out of 31,000 draws I won

Mr. Benjamin of "Publishers CLEARANCE House" tries to deliver a prize PRIVATELY instead of having the public balloons and flowers delivery with the PCH van and celebrities. Need to pay 1% taxes to their CPA Fred using a POSTAL M. O.! A FELONY!
Don't fall for it!


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