Our San Antonio branch office got an interesting delivery from a consumer on Monday. A check for $4,775! Must be her lucky day! Not so much. Attached was a "sweepstakes" winning notification saying she won a contest in Nevada at the end of March. Of course like any other prize winner, she was instructed to pay taxes on her winnings of $2,950. A pretty high cut (62%) considering most taxes on sweepstakes winnings over $5,000 are usually only about 25% of the total value and this woman's cash prize was below that mark.
She obviously knew this was a scam given the tax payment and the other 2 clues listed in the notice. First, the letter stated she was not allowed to cash the check until she paid the taxes by, YOU GUESSED IT, money wire to a place that someone over the phone would give her. Secondly, the letter contained the BBB seal, but not how it should look to an Accredited Business who receives access to the seal.
We see scams like this all the time for various sweepstakes but just remember that if you see something that looks too good to be true, it probably is. Also, look at the notification that comes with these offers because there will be clues as to why they are a scam.