Prize Lies: How to Spot a Sweepstakes Scam

True, you can’t win if you don’t play. But here’s how you certainly lose by entering a scam sweepstakes or lottery. • You’re instructed to pay a fee or buy something to enter, improve your chances of winning, or claim an already “won” prize. You will not only lose that money (what you purchase may be junk merchandise), but you will also likely face an onslaught of additional requests for supposed taxes, shipping and handling charges, or processing fees — …

Top Scams of 2015

As 2015 closes, it’s the same old story: another 750 documented data breaches — roughly the same as in 2014, but this year involving records of at least 178 million Americans (up from 160 million). And, of course, scammers are working the phones as usual. “No matter the call — and our clientele is still inundated with telemarketing calls — the way people are targeted for scams is the same … with intimidation, fear and/or immediacy,” notes Amy Nofziger of …

10 Ways to Win in Sweepstakes Scams

Next week, Publishers Clearing House will choose one lucky person (and his or her designated beneficiary) to receive $5,000 a week for life. Meanwhile, PCH-posing scammers are picking their own “winners.” One man in North Carolina recently lost $13,000. A Michigan woman was bilked out of $7,000. And who knows how many others are too embarrassed to admit they did what no legitimate contest would ever request: send upfront payment to claim a supposed jackpot. Some are fooled after getting fake checks (allegedly “partial” …

4 Scams That Prey on Your Patriotism

Happy birthday, America! Time for fireworks, barbecues and flag-waving. But know that fraudsters also have their own reason to celebrate: On July 4 (and every other day), your patriotism helps them in some of the nation’s biggest scams – especially but not exclusively when targeting those of retirement age. “Despite the stereotype, there is not a lot of data to indicate that seniors are any more trusting than anyone else,” says Stacey Wood, a neuropsychologist at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., …

Powerball Scam: ‘Unclaimed’ Prize Claims Casing You for Future Fraud

Just as sweepstakes scam season kicks off – these prize lies tend proliferate in spring through summer – fraudsters have conceived a clever new con. In random telephone calls, crooks claim there are “unclaimed” Powerball prizes that you can win by picking random numbers. Do that, officials say, and you may get a follow-up phone call alleging that your numbers won a lower-level prize of a new car and/or a boatload of cash. But know this: “They seem to be ‘casing’ the consumers …