How to Avoid Sweepstakes Scams

How to Avoid Sweepstakes Scams

( – Ever experience that twinge of excitement when you get an email or phone call saying you’ve won big in a contest you previously entered? Entering sweepstakes can be fun and exhilarating until you’ve realized you’ve been scammed.

Scammers have ways of getting you to fall victim to their antics so they can steal personal information and your bank account info. Here’s how to avoid common sweepstakes scams.

Never Give Out Personal Info

If you’ve won a prize through a legitimate contest, lottery or sweepstakes entry, the company should already have your contact information. But scammers take it a step further. They want all of your personal information. This could be your address, Social Security number, photo and data from your past like previous addresses or employers. They’ll use this information to access your credit report and vital financial accounts.

They May Send You a Counterfeit Check

Some sweepstakes scams start off by sending you a big fat check. It could be any amount, but they want you to endorse it and deposit it into your bank or return it to them. This is a great way for them to easily access your bank account info. Once you endorse it or cash it, they can easily obtain the bank account info and reverse the charges and start to drain your account.

Signing Paperwork

A simple John Hancock may be all some scammers need to take you for everything you have. A legitimate-looking legal document, even signed by another person or entity, gives off the impression you’ve really won. But once they have your signature, they can easily set up new accounts in your name or get into your existing bank or retirement accounts.

They Want You to Wire Them Money

You may get correspondence from a so-called legitimate sweepstakes company saying they need you to wire them a fee before they can process your winnings. And they usually request that you act fast. This is so you have less time to investigate or think it over.

Non-scamming sweepstakes winnings will never require a purchase or ask you to pay a fee to get your money.

If you feel unsure about a winning phone call, letter or email, do a little sleuthing. Ask to be connected with a manager or winnings consultant. If something doesn’t sit right, be hesitant about moving forward. Keep in mind, there are legitimate sweeps and lottery winners each day. Here’s to you winning the next big jackpot!

~Here’s to Your Success!

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