The Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana has received dozens of calls this week from local consumers who are being targeted by sweepstakes scams.
We received a call from a woman whose elderly father had purchased a gift card and loaded almost $2000 on it, to pay the ‘taxes’ for the sweepstakes scam, after getting several calls from a scammer.
The BBB warns consumers never to pay money to claim a prize. If anyone asks for money before delivering a prize, it is likely a scam.
Older adults are the primary target for sweepstakes scams. People over the age of 55 continue to be the primary target of sweepstakes, lottery, and prize scams, representing 72% of fraud reports for this type of scam received by BBB Scam Tracker during the last three years. Of the older consumers who were targeted, 91% reported that they lost money. Adults over 55 lost an average of $978 while those 18-54 lost an average of $279, according to Scam Tracker reports.
According to BBB Scam Tracker data, sweepstakes scammers reach out through a variety of channels: phone calls, email, social media, notices in the mail, and text messages.
How to tell fake sweepstakes and lottery offers from real ones:
- True lotteries or sweepstakes don’t ask for money. If someone wants money for taxes, themselves, or a third party, they are most likely crooks.
- You have to enter to win. To win a lottery, you must buy a lottery ticket. To win a sweepstakes or prize, you must have entered first. If you can’t remember doing so, that’s a red flag.
- Publishers Clearing House (PCH) does not call people in advance to tell them they’ve won.
- When in doubt, contact your BBB at 225-346-5222.