Scam of the Month 






If you have to pay to collect, it is a scam!



Imagine that you get a letter or phone call saying you have won a lot of money.  The only catch is that you must pay a fee for processing, taxes or other fees. If you are asked to pay a fee in order to collect your “winnings,” you can be sure that the call or letter is a scam. 

Legal lotteries, contests, and prizes will deduct all taxes and fees from the total amount of the winner’s prize. Then the winner receives the remaining amount. A real winner will never be asked to pay the taxes or fees first.

Some scammers will even send a fake check to you and then tell you to wire fees to them or withdraw cash to pay the taxes. When you try to deposit the scammer’s check, it bounces. Not only do you lose any money you sent to the scammer, but you may face bank charges for the bounced checks if you overdrew your account.

Lottery scammers are organized criminals. They may use “seals of authenticity,” claim they are certified by government agencies, or use familiar company names or logos to trap victims into their schemes.

Four South Florida scammers were convicted last month for falsely telling Florida residents that they were sweepstakes winners. The scammers tricked the “winners” into paying “fees” ranging from $20 to $50 each. This amount may not sound like much, but the four scammers collected over $25 million in total. These four are now waiting for their prison sentences, but there are many other scammers out there, plotting to take your money.


Top 5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Fake Sweepstakes and Lotteries:

  1. You can never win a contest you did not enter.
  2. Payments that “must be made by cash or gift cards” indicate a scam. 
  3. Scammers often pretend that they are calling from well-known sweepstakes companies, such as Publisher’s Clearinghouse. Do not be fooled by a familiar name!
  4. There is no government agency that certifies sweepstakes.
  5. It is illegal to enter foreign sweepstakes from the United States.


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