Seniors and Sweepstakes: What you need to know

Seniors, scams, and sweepstakes  — The FTC busted an international sweepstakes scam that spanned 156 countries and raked in $11 million from consumers, primarily those over 65 years of age. “We are pleased the FTC has ended this scam,” said Pam Dixon, WPF’s executive director. “We are consistently seeing that seniors who did not grow up with computers and who are not fluent with them are much more vulnerable to these kinds of scams.”

The FTC has an excellent web site tutorial on online sweepstakes scams here. 

Key takeaways for consumers:

1. If you see an email with a subject line that says you have won a lot of money, especially thousands or millions of dollars, consider it a scam until proven otherwise. Delete it.

2. If you have to pay to enter a sweepstakes or “win” or receive your prize, then it is too risky and is likely a scam.

3. Get on the Do Not Call list! Call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register. This will only work in the U.S.


For more on this particular international scam, see the FTC’s press release here.