BBB Warns Sweepstakes Scams Hitting Baton Rouge area

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 moneyAdults 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.

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