DAYTON, OHIO, July 8, 2013 - Scams hit the Miami Valley daily, including sweepstakes scams. Your Better Business Bureau gets contacted regularly by people who have received notifications claiming they have won prize money in sweepstakes.
Your BBB warns consumers to be wary of most sweepstakes. Following this advice, one consumer from Alabama learned she actually was a sweepstakes winner when she turned to your BBB for help. The consumer received a call from Michigan Bulb, which is affiliated with Spring Hill Nursery in Tipp City, claiming she had won a sweepstakes. The caller claimed all she had to do to receive her prize was to fill out a W-9 form for tax purposes. Your BBB team checked it out and discovered the consumer truly was a winner.
Unfortunately, happy endings like this aren’t usually the case. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lose billions each year to phony sweepstakes and prize promotion schemes.
Your BBB offers tips on how to protect yourself from sweepstakes scams.
The bottom line is legitimate sweepstakes companies don’t require you to pay taxes, customs fees, shipping or handling, or any other fee before awarding your winnings. (However, you may be asked to complete a tax form if the prize amount is more than $600. Check with the IRS on the proper forms to fill out.) Prizes are free. If you receive notification you’re a prize winner in a sweepstakes, check it out with your BBB by visiting www.bbb.org or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley For 100 years, your Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2011, people turned to your BBB more than 100 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at www.bbb.org. Today, there are 114 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints.