Sweepstakes prize scam hits ENC

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The Federal Trade Commission is warning people to be aware of sweepstakes prizes, after an Eastern Carolina woman received an offer too good to be true.

A local woman says she received a call from someone claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House, informing her that she won a million dollars and a new car.

The scammer told her that she won after her phone number was randomly selected. She says they told her since she was selected by phone, they needed more information, like her name and address, so they could deliver the prize that evening.

Once she gave them that information, she was then asked to go to Walmart to register to receive the prize.

Often times, the victim is then asked to wire money back to the scammer. They'll try and trick you into believing it's going toward the delivery or processing fees.

Remember, if you have to pay, it's not a prize, but a scam.

The Federal Trade Commission says other warning signs of sweepstakes prize scams include:

If you’re asked to make a payment. Legitimate sweepstakes don't make you pay a fee or buy something in order to win-- that includes paying taxes, shipping and handling charges and processing fees. There's never any reason to give someone your credit card information for a sweepstakes prize. The only time you may be asked to pay is in a skills type contest where you have to solve a problem or answer a question.
If you’re asked to wire money. You should never wire money because it's often impossible to trace. It operates like cash: once it's gone, there's no chance you're getting in back.
If you’re asked to deposit a check they sent you. The check will usually be fake, which means you will owe the bank any money that you withdrew.
They claim they are with a government agency or organization. Federal government agencies or legitimate sweepstakes companies will not contact you to ask for money so you can claim a prize.
You get a call out of the blue. Often times, you will have to sign up for a sweepstakes prize yourself, so you should not be caught by surprise if you get a call saying you won.

For more information on how to protect yourself against sweepstakes prize scams, click here.