Sweepstakes Check Scam

Don’t be fooled by promises of free money. 

Who Is It Targeting: US residents 

What Is It: A phony check scam that requires you to pay a processing fee 

What Are They After: This very common scam can take on many different forms, but the end result is the same…you’re out a lot of money. By making you believe you’ve just received a valid check—whether it’s prize money, a settlement claim, payment for an item or service, or more—and then asking you to return some of the money, you’re actually taking funds out of your account. The check is fake, so when you deposit it then withdraw your own money to send back to the scammer, you just lost out. 

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Never agree to send money back to someone who pays via check, no matter the reason.
  • If you do receive a check, you can confirm the funds with the bank listed on the front.
  • Don’t spend any money following a deposit unless the check has cleared the sender’s bank. 

Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from Patch.com.


If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530.

Read next: Fake Check Postal Scam

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