Prizes Should Never Come with a Price, BBB Warns

March 19, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Ca.,  – Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be wary when asked to send money to anyone using a reloadable prepaid debit card or Green Dot MoneyPak after several consumers report sending money to pay advance fees on nonexistent lottery winnings. 
A Redding woman reported sending over $3,000 to cover the registration fees for a car a caller claimed she won. “He’s not sending the car. I don’t know what to do,” said the woman. “I guess I won’t be getting that money back.”
Other consumers are promised millions of dollars, government grants or new homes over the phone. Later, the scammers request a money transfer to pay taxes and processing fees.
Much like wiring funds, money sent through a prepaid card is in most cases irreversible and untraceable. 
“Those who request you send money for a prize are generally not trustworthy individuals,” said Gary Almond, president of BBB serving northeast California. “It’s important to never send money to win anything. Checking with BBB to ensure a business is legitimate before sending money could save you thousands in the end.”
BBB offers the following tips to those receiving sweepstakes and lottery notifications:
•If you did not enter to win, you most likely did not win. 
•Never send any payment to anyone as a requirement for receiving your prize. Any such request means that the prize notification is bogus.
•Never send a wire transfer or give the access number to a prepaid money card to anyone you do not know, or anyone you suspect might be trying to steal your money. Wire transfers and prepaid cards are like cash and can’t be recovered.
•If you have any questions about a sweepstakes or lottery notification, check with the BBB at or by calling 916-443-6843.
For more scam alerts and consumer information, follow BBB on Facebook at
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