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Watch out for Tricky Leprechauns and Imposters this St. Patrick’s Day

3/16/2012

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Watch out for tricky leprechauns and imposters this St. Patrick’s Day

BBB reminds consumers to be wary of claims they’ve won a sweepstakes

AUSTIN, Texas - Mar. 16, 2012 – With most holidays, sporting events and disasters, scammers use these opportunities to target consumers and lure them into their schemes. As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, Better Business Bureau 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. Consumers across Texas frequently contact 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 Carrie A. Hurt, president and CEO of BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. “When consumers receive these notifications, they tend to let the excitement of the moment cloud their judgment.”

To help consumers identify a sweepstakes scam, 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.

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.

About Better Business Bureau:
BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.

Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.

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