Don't Fall Victim To A Sweepstake Scam

February 29, 2012

Akron, OH - February 29, 2012 - Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit, and Wayne Counties is cautioning consumers about phone calls that are purporting to be from your BBB about sweepstakes winnings. This is a scam - your BBB does not conduct sweepstakes.
A local consumer received a call from a 'Bob White', a so-called 'representative' of the BBB informing her that she had won 1.4 million dollars. In order to receive her winnings, she has to buy a $450 money card and call him back with the card information.  The contact number for him was 1-876-297-3871, which is registered in Jamaica.  The BBB has received calls from consumers across the country about this scam. 
Perpetrators of this scam will often call consumers claiming to be with a legitimate agency and state that the consumer has won a lottery or a sweepstakes. The scammers often use tactics to lure their victims into providing personal or financial information in order to steal their victim's identity or their money to claim the bogus prize money.
The Better Business Bureau reminds consumers that their organization does not run a lottery or sweepstakes . "Consumers should always confirm with the source by calling the company directly or visit their website, before falling for false information" said Christy Page, CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Medina Counties.
Should you receive such a call, please write down the number and what is said during the call. Then contact your BBB at (330) 253-4590 to report the scam. BBB will never contact consumers about lottery, sweepstakes, or prize winnings. BBB does not conduct sweepstakes, and will never act as an agent in administering money to a consumer. 
BBB offers the following advice:
• You must enter to win. Remember lottery tickets must be purchased. 
• Never pay any money to collect supposed lottery or sweepstakes winnings. 
• Never wire money.Wiring money is the same as sending cash. When the money's gone, there's very little chance of recovery. 
• Never provide personal or financial information over the phone.
• Foreign lotteries are illegal. Beware of lottery applications or win announcements coming via telephone or mail from outside the country. Foreign lotteries violate federal law and participating in any way is illegal. The only legal lotteries in the United States are state-run.

For more resources on how to prevent falling for lottery scams and other fraud, contact your Better Business Bureau at (330) 253-4590 or (800) 825-8887, or visit