Beware Sweepstakes Scams

Sweepstakes Fraud Mail Graphic

  • Here’s how they work: You get a card, call, or email saying that you’ve won! Maybe it’s a prize, a lottery, or a sweepstakes. The caller/sender is very excited and can’t wait to make sure you get your winnings. But you have to pay something, first – a fee, some taxes, whatever, in order to be able to claim the winnings. And then the caller/sender asks for your credit card number or bank account information or asks you to wire money. These are all red flags.
  • Here’s what you can do: Know that legitimate sweepstakes companies don’t require you to pay anything to receive the prize you have won. Do not send any money or give any personal or financial information. Taxes can either be withheld from a cash award or, more commonly, are reported by the company to the IRS and then you declare the prize on your annual tax return. Legitimate sweepstakes companies pay the cost of delivery for prizes they award and have no need for your credit card number.


Report that Scam

Federal Trade Commission

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Postal Inspection Service