Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams
Not all lotteries and sweepstakes are legitimate. Before you participate, keep these tips in mind:
- Scam artists often use the promise of a valuable prize or award to entice consumers to send money, buy overpriced products or services, or contribute to bogus charities.
- Legitimate sweepstakes don't require you to pay to collect your winnings.
- Scam operators use the telephone and direct mail to entice U.S. consumers to buy chances in foreign lotteries. These lottery solicitations violate U.S. law, which prohibits the cross-border sale or purchase of lottery tickets by phone or mail.
Every year, thousands of people lose their money and personal information to telephone scams. Typically, phone scammers will try to sell you something you hadn't planned to buy and will pressure you to give up personal information, like your credit card details or Social Security number.
Common Phone Scams
In telemarketing fraud, phone scammers will often use exaggerated—or even fake—prizes, products, and services as bait. Some may call you, but others will use mail, text, or ads to get you to call them for more details. Types of phone scams include:
- Travel packages - "Free" or "low-cost" vacations can end up costing a fortune in hidden costs.
- Credit and loans - Popular schemes include advance fee loans, pay day loans, and credit card loss protection.
- Fake business and investment opportunities - As business and investing can be complicated, scammers take advantage of people not researching the investment.
- Charitable causes - Many phone scams involve urgent requests for recent disaster relief efforts.
Information obtained from USA.GOV