In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more than 148,000 reports of fraud involving prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries, up 27 percent from the year before. These scams swindled the unwary out of $255 million.
The initial contact may be a phone call, email, social media notification, or mailer saying you’ve won some big contest. But there’s a catch: The scammers claim you must pay a fee or taxes to get your prize, and they ask for your bank account information, tell you to send money via a wire transfer, or suggest you purchase gift cards and give them the card numbers.
According to the FTC, here are some of the things scammers will do to try to trick you into thinking you really won a prize: