Sweepstakes Scam Using BBB Address

Beware Sweepstakes Scam Using BBB Address
April 15, 2014

How the Scam Works:   

You get a call from someone claiming you won a lottery. Your prize is $500,000, but you need to pay $5,000 for "delivery insurance" first. The caller assures you that this is a real prize and even directs you to the "US Consumer Protection Bureau" website to verify its legitimacy.

You decide to check out the offer, so you go to the website and call the phone number at the bottom. An "agent" answers and asks if you are calling about a lottery. He/She offers to check out your $500,000 prize, and, sure enough, verifies that you are real lottery winner. 

Don't fall for it! This lottery scam has an extra layer of deception. The website and the "Consumer Protection Bureau" are fake and just part of the scam. The bureau doesn't exist, and the address given on the fake website is really for BBB's office in Arlington, Va. 

Tips to Protect Yourself From a Sweepstakes Scam:

Lottery and sweepstakes scams are common. Here are tips to avoid them: 

  • You can't win a contest you didn't enter: You need to buy a ticket or complete an application to participate in a contest or lottery. Be very careful if you've been selected as a winner for a contest you never entered.
  • Verify -- but not by using a source scammers gave you. Check if an offer is real, but don't call the phone number in the email or website you suspect may be a scam. If it is a con, chances are the person on the other line will be involved too.
  • Don't pay up to claim your prize: You should never have to pay money or buy products in order to receive a prize. Be especially wary of wiring money or using a prepaid debit card.  
  • The only legal lotteries in the United States are the official state-run lotteries. Foreign lotteries are illegal.   

For More Information

Thanks to the BBB of West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas for their reporting on this scam. Read their full alert here. To find out more about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.    


For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB of South Central Louisiana, Inc. has been serving the local community since 1950 and services the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge & West Feliciana.