Beware of lottery and sweepstakes scams

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Better Business Bureau says during the pandemic, people lost more money to sweepstakes, lottery, and prize scams.

Kathy Chapman’s 84-year-old father lost tens of thousands of dollars to a sweepstakes scam.

Chapman told CBS News the trouble started with scam calls to her dad’s Michigan home.

“I never would have thought my dad would be susceptible to this. It really shocked me,” Chapman said.

Better Business Bureau South Dakota State Director Jessie Schmidt says lottery and sweepstakes scammers are targeting people in KELOLAND, too.

“I have visited with people in South Dakota whose parents have gotten lured into these sorts of scams,” Schmidt said.

One example of this type of scam is an imposter claiming to be from the Publisher’s Clearing House.

“That you’ve won $2.5 million and a brand new Mercedes. All you have to do is pay the taxes and the processing fee and it will be delivered to you and you have to send it in cash and you have to send it priority mail,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt says those are all red flags.

“The Publisher’s Clearing House, if you’ve won it, they will not be calling you. You can’t win a sweepstakes or a lottery that you don’t enter,” Schmidt said.

Chapman says the scam took much of her father’s life savings.

“I’m still really angry. He’s done nothing to anybody, he’s worked hard his whole life. And got taken advantage of,” Chapman said.

Here are some other tips to protect your self from these kinds of scams:

  • Call the sweepstakes company directly to see if you won.
  • Do an internet search of the company, person, or phone number that contacted you.
  • You can also talk to a trusted family member or your bank.

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