Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody released a Consumer Alert Monday warning Floridians about sweepstakes scams.
Lottery scams often begin when a scammer calls or sends messages to targets, often seniors, claiming the target won a prize. The scammer will then request service fees or financial information from the target stating that this is necessary for the winnings to be transferred.
“Receiving a message that you have won a large cash prize can be exciting, but it’s also likely a scam. If you receive one of these messages, be suspicious, do some research and never open any links included in the message. For more tips to avoid lottery scams, check out our latest Consumer Alert,” said Moody.
When scammers impersonate a credible lottery source and promise large winnings, targets could be fooled and may eagerly pay to receive a prize that will never be delivered. Targets are often asked to keep the winnings confidential helping scammers hide fraudulent efforts.
To avoid lottery scams:
- Be aware that the Florida Lottery never contacts an individual regarding winnings in a game that the player never entered;
- Be cognizant that a legitimate sweepstakes will not require winners to pay anything to receive a prize;
- Never provide banking or personal information over the phone to an unsolicited caller purporting that a fee is required to receive lottery winnings; and
- Know that winners will never be asked or required to keep prizes confidential.
To report a lottery or sweepstakes scam, contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office at 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or file a complaint at MyFloridaLegal.com.
To report a fraudulent sweepstakes or lottery offer received by mail, contact the Postal Inspection Service online at USPIS.gov.
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