The Basics of Prize/Lottery/Sweepstakes Imposter Scams
It is not unusual to be contacted by someone claiming that you have won a prize, lottery or sweepstakes. However, many of these offers are scams designed to trick you into sending money to the scammer. With the continued growth of social media and other electronic communications, scammers are finding new ways to contact you with the wonderful news that for just a small claim fee, you have won some large amount of cash, a luxury car, free vacation, or other non-existent prizes. Unfortunately, you may find that you’ve been impacted by a sweepstakes scam and sent the scammer money to “claim/receive” your prize.
Common Tactics Used by an Imposter Scammer
Prize, lottery and sweepstakes scams come in many different forms, but there are some common elements that they all share. One of the most important things to remember is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here are some common tactics to watch out for:
- Scammers will often pose as a government official when contacting potential victims of a prize, lottery or sweepstakes scam. They may use an official-looking email address or website, and may even forge documents to make their offer seem legitimate.
- The scammer may contact you through social media, using direct messages or even friend requests. In some cases, the scammer may even call you on the phone.
- When communicating with you, the scammer will often claim to be from a reputable organization, such as a government agency or well-known company.
- They may say that you have won a prize from this organization and that you need to pay a fee to claim it. The scammer may also say that you have been selected to participate in a survey or contest and that you will be awarded a prize if you complete it.
If you are contacted by someone offering a prize, lottery or sweepstakes, be very wary of any fees that they require you to pay. Remember, you should never have to pay to claim a prize. If you are asked to pay a fee, this is a clear sign that it is a scam.