An elderly man got swindled by sweepstake scammers. Here’s how you can tell if your win is fake. | Crime/Police | #scams | #elderlyscams
After an elderly man paid almost $2000 to claim a supposed sweepstakes prize, the Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana is alerting local customers to be on the lookout for scams.
The BBB received “dozens of calls” in the past week from people saying they were targeted by sweepstakes scams, according to a BBB President and CEO Carmen Million. These include a woman whose elderly father purchased a gift card and loaded it with hundreds of dollars to pay “taxes” for the sweepstakes scam after he received calls from the scammer.
Consumers should never pay money to claim a prize, and if anyone asks for money before the prize is delivered, the BBB says it is likely a scam.
Scammers are targeting older adults over the age of 55. This demographic represents 72% of fraud reports for this scam category in the last three years, according to the BBB Scam Tracker. Ninety-one percent of these older adults lost money, Million said.
Sweepstakes scammers can reach out through phone calls, email, social media, notices in the mail and text messages, according to BBB Scam Tracker data.
The BBB said that, in addition to someone asking for money, there are other ways to determine if the sweepstakes or lottery is a scam.
You have to enter to win, which means purchasing a lottery ticket. If someone says you won a prize, you must have registered. Furthermore, Publishers Clearing House does not call winners in advance to tell them they’ve won. If in doubt, contact BBB at 225-346-5222.