KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - - A new study released from the Better Business Bureau reveals victims are losing millions of dollars through sweepstakes, lottery and prize schemes, devastating people financially and emotionally.
The report highlights that seniors are often the target of these frauds through different avenues like direct mail, cold calling, social media and even text messages or smartphone pop-ups. The most common victims ranging between ages 65-74, including people who have gone through negative life events or someone who is worried about their financial future.
The study called,
"Sweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams: A Better Bureau Study of How 'Winners' Lose Millions Through an Evolving Fraud,"reports these types of scams took $117 million dollars of money from victims in 2017. The BBB received 2,820 sweepstakes and lottery scam reports last year, with the average loss of about $500.
Officials found out these types of schemes 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 Tony Binkley, Greater East TN 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 a financial windfall in their final years.”
The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker℠ is a searchable database of scams where users can report scams or look at reports of scams in a certain area. To research scams reported in your area or to report a scam, visit www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us .