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BBB Studies Sweepstakes & Lottery and Prize Scams - KOAM TV 7

BBB Studies Sweepstakes & Lottery and Prize Scams

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A new report by Better Business Bureau (BBB) says sweepstakes, lottery and prize schemed are devastating victims financially and emotionally with ever-evolving methods. These frauds concentrate on seniors, targeting them by direct mail, cold calling, social media, even text messages and smartphone pop-ups. BBB warns consumers to be on guard against these serious and pervasive frauds and their perpetrators.

The report -- "Sweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams: A Better Business Bureau Study of How 'Winners' Lose Millions Through an Evolving Fraud" -- notes these scams bilked $117 million out of half a million Americans and Canadians in 2017 alone, with actual victims and losses likely numbering much higher. BBB received 2,820 sweepstakes and lottery scam reports in Scam Tracker in 2017, with a median loss of $500. Seniors are the most frequent target and suffer the largest losses by far in these scams, which the report found commonly originate in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Nigeria.

"The law requires you to purchase a ticket to play the lottery, but a legitimate lottery or sweepstakes will never ask its winners to wire money to claim the prize," said Michelle L. Corey, St. Louis BBB president and CEO. "It's heartbreaking that these fraudsters are continually finding new ways to prey on older people who are dreaming of a big win or financial windfall in their final years."

Read the full study at bbb.org

About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.

St. Louis area media contacts: Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), cthetford@stlouisbbb.org

Shellie Kreter, PR & Communications Manager, (314) 584-6723 or (314) 348-5451 (cell), skreter@stlouisbbb.org

Don O'Brien, Investigator, (314) 584-6785, dobrien@stlouisbbb.org

Columbia media contact: Michelle Gleba, Columbia Regional Director, (573) 886-8965 or (573) 645-3204 (cell), mgleba@columbiabbb.org

Cape Girardeau media contact: Whitney Quick, Cape Girardeau Regional Director, (573) 803-3191 or (573) 318-1137 (cell), wquick@capegirardeaubbb.org

Quincy media contact: Mara Clingingsmith, Quincy Regional Director, (217) 209-3972 or (217) 242-6272 (cell), mclingingsmith@quincybbb.org

Springfield media contact: Stephanie Garland, Springfield Regional Director, (417) 380-5074 or (832) 472-9722 (cell), sgarland@springfieldbbb.org

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