We’ve heard from folks in the last week who all have received text messages claiming that they’ve won a big prize, or should enter a contest for a chance to win. In all of the instances, the scammers asked for the individual’s personally-identifying information – something you should never give out online for personal security purposes.
We’ve seen scams in the past that utilized telephone calls, letters and email, so we’re not surprised to see text messages in play as well. But it does appear to be a new twist. Scam operations are nearly impossible to trace and shut down because they generally are based outside the United States. You can have the most impact in thwarting their efforts by being alert and protecting yourself.
If someone contacts you and says you’ve won a big prize, ask yourself this basic question: Did I buy a ticket or enter that contest? If you didn’t, it’s likely a scam.
We have an entire section on our website dedicated to Player Security reminders, but here are a few quick highlights to remember:
• Keep your credit card, bank account and Social Security information private. Scam artists will often ask for them with the goal of accessing your accounts and stealing your money!
• Never pay processing fees, insurance or commissions to claim a lottery prize. Legitimate lotteries do not require winners to pay anything up front to receive a prize.
• Never believe a letter, phone call or Internet message from someone who claims they can guarantee you a prize. Legitimate lotteries do not guarantee that you will win a prize and do not require you to join a prize pool to play.