If You Have to Pay for a Sweepstakes Prize, You Didn’t Win Anything
You get a phone call telling you that you’ve won a sweepstakes. Naturally, you’re quite excited, as winning a sweepstakes can be quite an exhilarating feeling. However, don’t get caught up in the excitement of the call. The person on the other line may just be a hired hand working to scam you out of your hard-earned money.
Wait For the Other Shoe to Drop
If you’re ever called on the phone and told that you’ve just won a sweepstakes prize, wait for the other shoe to drop. If the statement is followed up with “We’ll just need x amount of dollars to verify your prize” or “We’ll just need x amount of dollars to cover processing costs and taxes” then you’re being scammed.
No legitimate sweepstakes company will charge their winners processing costs in order to give them their prize. If you win something, the prize should be yours free and clear. You should never have to pay to claim a prize.
Now the fact of life is this – if you win a substantial prize you’re going to need to pay taxes on it. But you do not have to pay taxes to the company giving you the prize; you pay your taxes directly to the government. If the sweepstakes company is trying to get you to pay “taxes” directly to them, their trying to pull one over on you.
Credit Card Information
Now let’s say that the company isn’t charging you anything, but they tell you that they need your credit card information in order to confirm your identity. This is also a scam that criminals use to get your credit card number so they can use it for their own personal uses. If you give them your credit card number you’ll never see a prize, but you’ll probably see a number of bogus charges on your credit card statement.
If It Walks Like a Duck…
Just remember, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. That being said, if something seems fishy about a sweepstakes prize that you’re being offered, you probably want to walk away from the situation to avoid being scammed.