Many people (mainly seniors) receive "sweepstakes" offers in the mail. They all sound so promising... "Guaranteed Winner", "Unclaimed Award", "Congratulations!", "Claim Form", or "We've been trying to reach you about your winnings!" This is just a sample of how these companies try to lure you in! The prize could be a big cash award between $1000-$1,000,000 or could be as low as a $50-$100 gift card for a certain store. And all you have to do to claim your prize is to call the toll-free number, send back the form in the mail after you check a few boxes, or click a few buttons on your computer. What's the harm in that? Plenty!
Shortly after you do that, another mailing arrives and you are "one step closer to getting your prize." All they need now is a signature with your credit card information or social security number. Or they tell you to fill out another form and enclose a small fee, usually between $5-$15. It is illegal for a company to require payment in order for you to receive a cash reward, BUT these scamming companies get around that, by stating it is a "Registration Fee", "Processing Fee" or some other fee. Don't send any money! Don't give out any information! Don't do it!
These companies sell their mailing lists, with your name and a host of other names, to other scammers. That is why you start getting a lot of different offers and "award notifications." It is one big scam, and these companies share in the catch of cash like a big net. Don't get taken! The U.S. Postal Inspection arrests over 1,000 suspects each year, but there are so many more out there. Know that these scammers do not care about you! They just want your money, even if it is only $5 at a time. Don't waste your money and don't waste your time! Don't even open this type of mail. If there is any question, call your son, daughter, friend, banker, lawyer, or someone else you can trust. If you or someone you know has been scammed out of a lot of money, call the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Also, contact the postal inspector about your "sweepstakes" junk mail!