by Kathy Stokes, AARP Fraud Watch Network

Scam alert ahead concept

There are plenty of reputable contests and sweepstakes out there (including some from AARP), and let’s be honest, winning feels great! However, there are questionable characters out there who are trying to hook you on winning to reel in the profits for themselves.

How It Works:

You’re told you’ve won a prize but:

  • You have to pay a fee to collect your winnings;
  • You have to wire money to a well-known company to insure delivery of the prize;
  • You have to deposit a check they have sent you;
  • Your notice was mailed by bulk rate;
  • You have to attend a sales meeting to win.

What You Should Know:

  • You cannot win a contest you did not enter. Don’t believe claims saying that you were automatically entered.
  • Playing a foreign lottery is illegal. If you’re told that your name was entered in a foreign lottery, know it is a scam.
  • Remember- if you have to pay to receive it, it’s not a prize. It’s a scam!

What You Should Do:

  • Be vigilant. The Federal Trade Commission recommends looking up a contest or promoter in a search engine with the words “scam” or “complaint”.
  • Warn others. If you think you’ve been targeted by a prize scam, report it at www.ftc.gov/complaint and share on the Fraud Watch Network scam-tracking map.
  • Report spam texts that offer gifts, gift cards, or free services to your carrier, then delete the message.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

 


Spotted a scam?  Tell us about it.  Our scam-tracking map gives you information about the latest scams targeting people in your state.  You’ll also find first-hand accounts from scam-spotters who are sharing their experiences so you know how to protect yourself and your family.