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Windom
Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Sweepstakes and prize scams remain an issue

It appears the tried and true sweepstakes and prize scams remain quite successful for scammers in Minnesota.

That’s the report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Paying for “winnings”

According to state officials, every day, Minnesota consumers receive sweepstakes promotions by mail, phone or Internet.

“If you have to pay to play or pay to receive ‘winnings,’ the promotion is a scam,” state officials warn the state’s residents. “You never have to pay to enter a sweepstakes. That includes paying shipping and handling fees, taxes or buying a product to receive your ‘prize.’

“Those sweepstakes that notify you by a postcard that you’ve won a free prize are run by con artists whose sole purpose is to rip you off. And that ‘free prize’ could end up costing you thousands of dollars.”

A few suggestions
Here are some tips to evaluate the legitimacy of sweepstakes or other promotions:
• Rules and entry instructions for the promotion should be easy to find and understand. If you can’t understand what you must do to be eligible, don’t respond.
• You never have to pay to play when the contest is legitimate.
• No legitimate prize company asks for your credit card number, bank account information or social security number to declare you a winner.

Share your scam story
Local law enforcement is concerned about the impact of scams on area residents, particularly the elderly.

Consequently, this newspaper works with local police and sheriff’s departments to keep residents updated on common schemes. Scam Alerts will appear in future editions as often as possible in the coming weeks.

Readers can also find online scam updates Tuesdays at windomnews.com.
If you have been the target of a scam, your first contact should be local authorities. Also, feel free to contact us with details (we can keep your name confidential).
Send your story to: rahnl@windomnews.com, or call 507-831-3455. By sharing, you could prevent someone from being scammed.

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