Prize Scams: Don’t Pay to Play

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


Whenever we get these calls, we tell them to take the taxes, fees, etc. out of the prize money and send the balance.

That's exactly what legit lottery businesses do. They always take processing fees out of the prize itself. Basically, never pay to get paid. :P

Plaise stop end still may gmail

FTC never does anything with complaints anyway. They send you a link explaining how you've already been scammed.

When a team of people were trying to scam me recently, I didn't fall for it or provide them ANY info, because as much as I hoped it was real money for me, it had all the red flags of a scam---what I DID DO, eventually, when more and more it was certain they were scamming me,is call FTC an verified it was a scam, and gave them the info I had, and the calls suddenly came to a screeching halt! ALSO my HOPE was, the FTC could find out if there WAS a VALID CHECK for me (and maybe these people were just trying to get a "piece first" for themselves! BUT I don't know if the FTC CHECKED to see if a REAL CHECK for ME EVER EXISTED---OR if they just warned callers to CEASE their scam---either way the calls now stopped!!

This happened to me, and they scammed for quite a bit of money. And I was dealing with a woman who said she worked for the government, and even provided a phone number which was a government number.

I was wondering if they used a government phone number did you call it back? did they also tell you that you would be able to pay 1/2 of the bill and the rest would be forgiven? This is what happened to me with a government # that was given to me for a bill that I did not create

Prizes are just that, prizes,something you won by entering a drawing,sweepstakes, or contest that you personally entered. Best to just hang up,or if I won, send me my prize,or better yet, can you call back later when my husband gets home after his shift,he's a cop, and I know he will be really glad to hear the good news.

Point is,never pay for a prize,if you did not enter,it's a scam. Anyone say they are from the government,anyone who works for the State,County,or City department,works for the government. Also,don't answer unknown calls,or from States you've never been to, or have business with. Sorry for your loss,definitely a difficult way to learn a lesson. These vultures prey on the hopeful and the innocent.

This is just wrong if you put out the effort to earn the prize you should receive it

Instigram Mega Millions repeatedly called me over and over again Saying that I won twelve million and a cashier's check for twelve thousand they wanted me to pay ATLEAST $300 I had to pay for some gold seal anyhow they laughed at me cuz I told them I am flat broke which is the truth or even a nickle they thought that was helarious


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