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Contest and Sweepstakes Scams

Many companies offer sweepstakes and contests to promote their products and reward their customers. Unfortunately, not all sweepstakes and contests are legitimate. Sweepstakes scammers can contact you via the mail, Internet, and the phone with promises of a prize such as a car, a vacation, or a large sum of money. The scammers will say you need to pay fees to claim your prize. In the end, you could be out hundreds or thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it. If you’ve unwittingly participated in a scam, report it to the local police and file a report with the Postal Inspectors.

Sweepstakes/Briefcase Scam- PSA

Cash you won from a sweepstakes is on its way in a briefcase... All you need to do is send money to get the combination. Is it legitimate?

Julia’s Story: Sweepstakes Fraud (Lottery Scam)

Julia was deceived by a lottery scam where she had to deposit money in order to claim her prize. Watch to learn more about sweepstakes fraud.

Protect Yourself From Fake Sweepstakes

  • Never pay to win

    A contest you pay to enter is considered an illegal sweepstakes. Don’t pay to enter or to win.

  • Avoid foreign sweepstakes

    Avoid any sweepstakes that involves a foreign country. If a lottery or sweepstakes is based in another country and conducted through the mail, it’s illegal.

  • Don't give out financial information

    Never give out personal financial information such as bank accounts or credit card numbers to enter a sweepstakes contest.

  • Don't feel pressured

    Take your time. Don’t be pressured into making an immediate decision to enter a contest, make a purchase, or give a donation.

Have You Witnessed This Scam?

If you’ve witnessed or been affected by a sweepstakes or contest scam, we want to help. Please report fraudulent sweepstakes using the link below.

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