‘You’ve won millions,’ not the luck of the Irish but a pricey scam
DENVER – In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, many may feel lucky when they see what appears to be a prize offer in the mail but the Better Business Bureau of Denver/Boulder warns sweepstakes scams are one of Colorado’s top problems. The BBB receives numerous calls on a daily basis from hopeful citizens inquiring about the authenticity of a mail or phone notification offering a substantial prize. Unfortunately, the BBB verifies they are always scams.
Not only is this category of fraud common in the metropolitan area, it is a clear problem across the state of Colorado. According to ElderWatch, a program with the Colorado Attorney General and the AARP Foundation, complaints about prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries were No. 1 on its list in 2013. ElderWatch says the average amount of money lost in such a scam in Colorado is $11,565 and the average victim age is 75.
Nationally, complaints about prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries ranked No. 6 in 2013 with the Federal Trade Commission. Victims of mail fraud should contact their local postmaster or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by phone, toll-free at: 1-800-372-8347 or online at postalinspectors.uspis.gov. Other forms of sweepstakes/lottery fraud attempts can be reported to ElderWatch at 1-800-222-4444, option 2.
To help consumers identify a sweepstakes scam, the BBB provides the following:
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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, there are 113 local, independent BBBs across the U. S. and Canada. Please visit denver.bbb.org for more information.