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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 ftc.gov/complaint. Your report can help FTC investigators identify the scammers and stop them before they steal someone’s hard-earned money.

Tagged with: lottery, prize, scam, sweepstakes

Comments

Had a call on 6/12/19 and stated his name was Jack Turner. He went on to say congratulations about the winning of 2.5 millions and a 2019 Mercedes Benz.... He asked about Credit Card and if I could pay the fees, taxes because they was paying all the orher fees, taxes ect... the amount I suppose to pay was $1,999.00 and I didn't have to pay it all at once. Well of course, I didn't give him no info, but I was fishing to get info. The call came from New Jersey area code is 551.253.2578. BE CAREFUL AND CAUTIOUS. Please do not accept this nothing but a SCAM.

Had a sweepstakes scam for the Toby Keith super prize that was very convincing. Kept all emails,phone number and real mail plus NSF check.

Had a sweepstakes scam that was very convincing. Kept all emails,phone number and real mail plus NSF check.

ELIZABETH JOHNSON an employee of Facebook contacted me about winning Facebook lotto and said it required 250 dollars of iTunes cards for delivery. When I got those. SHE then replied that it required 300 dollars more.Tried reporting her to Facebook and they just said they were not having a lotto we innings and did nothing to her.She says is the prize coordinator. SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE ABOUT THESE RIP OFF ARTIST!

I will admit I fell into the “your name was on the list when they came to my house”. They had hacked my Christian long-time friend so I thought she was doing me a favor. I contacted a RICHARD DONALD E-mail is: RICHARDdonald incharge1.com who said he was government agent in charge of Publischer Clearing House in conjunction with FB.COM AND Mga Bonus & he would check the winners’ records to see if I was a winner. And of course I Was,! He gave me directions on buying $100 x7 EBay cards ($700) (For document fees)then when I was wary about making copy of scratched off # he played on the fact I was a Christian & said he could be trusted as he knew Jesus Christ an d didn’t want to be went to hell & judged for lying to me and he said he would not let me down. He messenged me again around 3am requesting $1500 for security escort to accompany FedEx to deliver $150,000 to me the next day. then I had to run around for $200 x7 and $100 x1 EBay cards for $1,500. Copies were sent by photo again. Then it was $5,000 which he brought down to $3,000 because monies would becoming from California. I did not have ANY MONIES AT ALL. MY WHOLE SS CHECK GONE..WHICH IS MY FAULT BUT I BELIEV EDMIT WAS TRULY MY FRIEND AS THE PERSON WHO KEPT MESSAGING ME NOT RALIZING HER ACCOUNT HAD BEEN HACKED FB ACCOUNT. I HAVE ALL THE EBAY GIFT CARDS, RECEIPTS FROM WALGREENS, LOWES & WINN-DIXIE AND I ALSO HAVE EACH CARD’s activation receipts. WHAT DO I need to do now. To get my monies back? My friend has contacted her friend in the FBI & he is looking into this frauds/scam!

Just received a call from (808)503-0908 but was told to call (715)503-0908 because it was a direct line. They say they are from the Winners Circle and that I won $750,000 but in order to receive the prize some fees and taxes have to be paid first. I didn't pay or provide them with any information.

Received call from 786-545-8154, showed up on call display as PCH, recording stated I had been selected in a random lottery draw and to call this # back, extension 1. These crooks have good technology, can "spoof" telephone numbers and information to show as being legitimate. I have not entered any lottery draws so I know this is a scam.

Scammer name, Dave Brown. Sadly my elderly mother has sent money to: Fred Vickers and Bernadette Hlardik for this scammer's promise that she has won a million, a car, and a diamond ring. He's even telling her she reminds him of dead wife and that he loves her.

Yes someone by the name James Miller contacted my 82/yr old grandfather leaving him a voicemail on his phone saying he won a lottery prize from something called American Cash Lottery or something like that and I don't want my grandmother to end up him losing money for something I know is a scam

They need me to buy a stem wallet card. For $100.00 usd. Scratch off the back send them a picture of it. So they can load $10.000. usd. On to my account. I've tried everything I can to block them off Facebook. And I can't.they keep hounding me day and night. It says on there web site. I have 30 days to claim my prize. But they won't leave me alone.

I received a call from a Mr. David Salyer (fake name) notifying me I won $1.7 million dollars from the Publishing Clearance House. I knew it was a scam, so I let him talk. He provided me a ticket number, check number, and check delivery options. He stated before my check could be delivered, I needed to pay $1000.00 for the taxes. When I told him I was not going to pay $1000.00, he wanted me to talk with a supervisor which of course never came to the phone. The number he called from is 876-372-7710. He also called form 878-864-5767. BE WARE!!

Recieved a call stating I win from publisher clearing house and all good stuff but needed to get a vanilla visa gift card. For 400$ and give them card number . this is number I called from 1+876 851 5275

They are now harassing me 6-7 times a day. it's the same person every time. sometimes if I don't pick up, they will leave an automated call. area code 876 mostly! but other numbers as well.
Note: If you scream at them they will begin to call you non-stop, just for the Hell of it!

I received 3 calls this morning from 302-523-6010. They said they had $500,000. for me from a Consumers Warehouse Sweepstakes. That the prize money was from an international sweepstakes, and that customs had to pay taxes on it. I only needed to send $1950. (30% of the 10% security deposit). As much as I would like to get $500,000. I did not send the money.

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