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Tips for avoiding a sweepstakes scam

Posted at 8:19 AM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 09:18:59-04

WISCONSIN — Many of us would love to learn that we are the winner of sweepstakes. But, how do you know if you are a winner or a target for a scam?

Here are a few things that you can do to enter sweepstakes safely and avoid getting scammed.

If you want to register for sweepstakes, do your homework and check things out before filling out a form, clicking on a link, or spending any money. Considering using a separate email address that you use specifically for sweepstakes or marketing efforts.

Keep in mind, the purpose of many sweepstakes is to gather information that can be used for marketing purposes.

Check out the reputation of the company offering the sweepstakes, and read the fine print about contest rules and privacy policies. If you are asked to make a purchase or the rules and privacy policies are vague or do not exist, watch out. This could be a telltale sign of a scam.

If you are notified that you are a winner, use caution before you send money or pay with a pre-paid debit card. Also, use caution before providing any personal information, especially if you are asked for banking information or a social security number. Do your research by checking out the official website or calling a legitimate phone number for the company.

Read over the sweepstakes rules, including how winners will be notified. Do not automatically trust a phone number or information that is provided in a letter or over the phone. Watch out for telltale signs of a scam such as postage that appears to be bulk mail or from out of the country, a fake check enclosed for an odd amount, or a caller that tells you that payment must be made in order to collect the winnings.

If you suspect a scam or need help checking things out, contact state and federal consumer agencies, or contact our Call 4 Action office. Your information could help others from being scammed.

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