Scam Alert – Con artists using Better Business Bureau® name and reputation to rip you off.

You have just won $250,000 from BBB!!! Sounds too good to be true and it is!
May 28, 2014

Clearwater, FL - You have just won $250,000 from BBB!!!  Sounds too good to be true and it is!  Your Better Business Bureau is warning you about con artists that are using the highly recognized BBB name and reputation for a sweepstakes that does not exist, all in an effort to steal your money and personal information. 

Victims who contacted BBB claim they’ve received calls from someone claiming to be from BBB.  They are using various techniques to try and dupe you into sending them money or to give up your personal information.

“Your Better Business Bureau Serving West Florida will never ask you for your personal information,” said Karen Nalven, President of BBB Serving West Florida.  “We provide free services to the public, so we will not call you asking for money.”

In this scheme, the caller tries to convince the consumer that he has won a lottery, and in order to collect the winnings he must provide his bank account number or wire money.

BBB is not associated with calls from these con artists. Any consumers who receive such calls should notify BBB immediately at (727) 535-5522 or

If you receive a phone call, letter, or e-mail announcing that you have won a sweepstakes, a lottery or prize award, remember these tips:

  • Are you being directed to wire money, provide access to your bank account or credit card numbers, or forward any personal financial information in order to claim your sweepstakes or lottery winnings? This is an attempt to steal your money or identity, by a person masquerading as a sweepstakes or lottery official!

  • Legitimate sweepstakes companies do not require you to pay taxes, customs fees, shipping or handling, or any other fee before awarding your winnings. And, they are prohibited by U.S. law from requiring that you buy something to enter a sweepstakes contest or to receive sweepstakes mailings.

  • Did you ever actually enter the company’s sweepstakes? Chances are, you did not!

  • Read the fine print on any sweepstakes offer or entry form that you receive in the mail. Usually it says something to the effect that you win, IF your number is selected or IF your number is one of the winning numbers. You have not yet won anything!

  • Do not be deceived by seals, official-sounding names, or terms that imply affiliation with or endorsement by a government entity, here or abroad. It is illegal for a promoter to misrepresent an affiliation with a government organization or other well-known organization.

  • If you have truly won a prize, whether it is a cash card, gift certificate or product, there should be no redemption fees, postage fees, delivery fees, or other conditional rules to comply with in order to receive your prize.

  • Responding to just one foreign lottery ticket or one fraudulent sweepstakes notice or one prize award solicitation can open the door to many more bogus offers. Ignore all such offers!

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BBB is an unbiased non-profit 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. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles and BBB Wise Giving Reports®, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is a difference in viewpoints. For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at   Better Business Bureau Serving West Florida is one of many local, independent BBBs across North America that provide business reviews on companies within its 11 county service area.  These counties include: Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Desoto, Charlotte, Lee & Collier. 

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