Scam Alert: You’ve won a prize!

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There has been an influx of fraudulent lottery, sweepstakes, and prize winners. These types of winnings are typically for an item you didn’t even know you entered for (this should be a warning that this could be a scam). If you’ve received one of these types of calls, emails, or letters, here are some things that you should lookout for to help you to identify if it is a scam.

  • You have to pay to get your winnings/prize
    Real prizes are free; you should not need to pay anything to receive your winnings. Do not pay any fees using gift cards, wiring money, sending cash, or utilizing cryptocurrency. These types of payment methods are hard to track. Once you send the money, it could be gone forever.
  • If you “pay more” your odds of winning will increase
    If this is a sweepstakes, winning is done by chance only. You cannot pay more to receive better odds of winning, as this is illegal. A scammer may try to get you to do this, alerting you this could be a scam.
  • You must give out your banking information
    There is no instance where you should ever give out your online banking information, credit card, or account numbers to win a prize. If you’re asked for this, do not do it, it is a scam.

These are just a few ways to help you to identify a “winning” scam, however the scammers are always changing their game. For more information about these types of scams visit The Federal Trade Commission’s website by clicking here.

Have you been a victim of a scam? The Office of the Vermont Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) is a Vermont based program for you to report fraud to. For more information on CAP visit their website by clicking here.