Consumer Alert: Fake prize and lottery scams

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EDISON -

Fake prize and lottery scams have been around for decades, but a new report found that more people are being fooled by them each year.

The scams often come in the mail, by email or as a text message that claims someone has won a prize. The prize can be anything from a gift card to a Mega Millions jackpot.

The Better Business Bureau says that these types of scams are popping up all around the world.

“The No. 1 thing to remember with a lottery is that you never have to pay money to win money that you’ve legitimately won,” says the Bureau’s Melissa Companick.

The Better Business Bureau says that Americans were scammed out of more than $100 million in 2017. The agency says that the most likely victims are someone between 65 and 74 years old, who recently experienced a negative life event such as a serious illness.

“’If I could get this amount of money, it could pay my medical bills. It could pay funeral bills. It could go toward my children or grandchildren's education.’ Everybody wants to believe that they've won. It's just not true,” Companick says.

Companick reiterates that anyone who legitimately won a prize should never have to pay money to get the prize. She says that if it is a real prize, tax money can be paid later or deducted from the winnings.

More information about these types of scams can be found at the Better Business Bureau’s website.

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