Thursday, November 02, 2006

More of the "You Don’t Have to Pay to Play!" series

"And The Winner Is...

Everyone loves to be a winner. A recent research poll showed that more than half of all American adults entered sweepstakes within the past year. Most of these contests were run by reputable marketers and non-profit organizations to promote their products and services. Some lucky winners received millions of dollars or valuable prizes.

Capitalizing on the popularity of these offers, some con artists disguise their schemes to look legitimate. And an alarming number of people take the bait. Every day, consumers throughout the United States lose thousands of dollars to unscrupulous prize promoters. During 1999 alone, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 10,000 complaints from consumers about gifts, sweepstakes and prize promotions. Many received telephone calls or postcards telling them they'd won a big prize - only to find out that to claim it, they had to buy something or pay as much as $10,000 in fees or other charges.

There's a big difference between legitimate sweepstakes and fraudulent ones. Prizes in legitimate contests are awarded solely by chance, and contestants don't have to pay a fee or buy something to enter or increase their odds of winning. In fraudulent schemes, however, 'winners' almost always have to dip into their pockets to enter a contest or collect their 'prize.'"

Once again, if you are ever contacted by a supposed company by phone/email/mail never ever give them your credit card information. It is against the law and probably a fraud waiting to happen.

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