It's Not Great Luck, It's Actually a Scam

March 16, 2012

Denver, CO – March 16, 2012 – With most holidays, sporting events and disasters, scammers use these opportunities to target consumers and lure them into schemes. As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds consumers to be suspicious of sweepstakes winnings claims.

“Congratulations, you’ve just won $5,000!” At least that is what a scam artist wants you to believe. Almost on a daily basis, consumers across Colorado contact the BBB inquiring about the authenticity of a mail or phone notification announcing they’ve won a substantial sum of money.

“These types of scams are so popular because they prey on consumers’ greatest dreams of financial freedom,” said Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder. “When consumers receive these notifications, they tend to let the excitement of the moment cloud their judgment.”

To help consumers identify a sweepstakes scam, the BBB provides the following:

· Are you asked to make a purchase in order to get your prize? According to the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act, if you have won something, you should not have to pay a penny or purchase anything to receive it.

· Are you asked to wire money? Many times scammers will instruct you to wire money to cover the fees, such as processing, administrative or tax fees, before you receive your prize. Once you’ve wired money there is very little chance of getting that money back.

· Be cautious of look-alikes. Scammers often use names of government agencies and well-known organizations to try to confuse you and give you confidence in the winnings claim.

· Did you receive this notification via bulk rate mail? According to the Federal Trade Commission, it is highly unlikely that you’ve won a big prize if your notification was sent by bulk rate.

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About the BBB
The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews , BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, over 100 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit for more information.