Sweepstakes and lottery scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the bottom line is almost always this: You’ve won a whole lot of money, and in order to claim it you have to send us a smaller amount of money. Oh, and keep this confidential until we’re ready to announce your big winnings. Yeah, right!
Often these kinds of scams use business names to make their offer seem more genuine. If you aren’t sure about a contest, go directly to the homepage of the company mentioned. If they are really giving away $1 million, there will be some kind of announcement on their website. Don't click on a link in an email. It could download a virus or lead to a fake website.
A Typical Sweepstakes Scam:
When Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes' envelopes begin hitting mailboxes each year, the scam phone calls and fake mail are quick to follow.
The scam goes as follows: a caller or letter tells the victim that he/she has won a prize from Publisher's Clearing House. But first, the person must pay a fee to retrieve the money they have allegedly won.
If you receive any phone calls or emails from Publishers Clearing House indicating you have won a prize and need to send money ... don't do it!