Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit, and Wayne Counties is cautioning consumers about phone calls that are purporting to be from your BBB about sweepstakes winnings. This is a scam – your BBB does not conduct sweepstakes.
Consumers across the country have notified the BBB about this scam. A local consumer received a call informing her that she had won $100,000 from the BBB. The caller did not request any personal information over the phone, but transferred her to their “Fraud Department” in Cincinnati to verify that this was a legitimate winning. The contact number for him was 1-874-284-3633 ext. 23, which is registered in Jamaica. The consumer was also told that she could contact the Akron BBB from 9:00-12:00 at 330-252-7363 to verify her winnings.
Perpetrators of this scam will often call consumers claiming to be with a legitimate agency and state that the consumer has won a lottery or a sweepstakes. The scammers often use tactics to lure their victims into providing personal or financial information in order to steal their victim’s identity or they tell potential victims that a check will be sent and that they should wire a portion of that check to a specific location in order to claim the bogus prize money.
The Better Business Bureau reminds consumers that their organization does not run a lottery or sweepstakes and that the number 330-252-7363 is not a registered number for the Akron BBB office. “Consumers should always confirm with the source by calling the company directly or visit their website, before falling for false information” said Christy Page, CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Medina Counties.
Should you receive such a call, please write down the number and what is said during the call. Then contact your BBB at (330) 253-4590 to report the scam. BBB will never contact consumers about lottery, sweepstakes, or prize winnings. BBB does not conduct sweepstakes, and will never act as an agent in administering money to a consumer.
BBB offers the following advice:
• You must enter to win. Remember lottery tickets must be purchased. Sweepstakes usually involve application paperwork that you have personally completed and government grants have a thorough application process as well.
• Never pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. If you have to pay to collect your winnings, you’re not winning — you’re buying. Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay “insurance,” “taxes” or “shipping and handling charges” to collect your prize.
• Never wire money. Scammers pressure people to wire money through commercial money transfer companies because wiring money is the same as sending cash. When the money’s gone, there’s very little chance of recovery. Likewise, resist any push from the caller to send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier. Con artists recommend these services so they can get their hands on your money before you realize you’ve been cheated.
• Phone numbers can deceive. Internet technology allows con artists to disguise their area code so it looks like they’re calling from your local area. But they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
• Watch the grammar. Scam letters, faxes or emails are often full of grammatical and spelling errors.
• Never provide personal information. Scammers can be very charming and charismatic and will lure or pressure for personal information.
• Foreign lotteries are illegal. Beware of lottery applications or win announcements coming via telephone or mail from outside the country. Foreign lotteries violate federal law and participating in any way is illegal. The only legal lotteries in the United States are state-run.
For more resources on how to prevent falling for lottery scams and other fraud, contact your Better Business Bureau at (330) 253-4590 or (800) 825-8887, or visit www.akron.bbb.org.