If you ever win a prize but have to pay money to receive it, beware. It’s probably a scam.

Who Is It Targeting: Anyone with a means of being contacted

What Is It: Lottery winnings scam

What Are They After: When a caller announces he’s from [insert any award, lottery, or prize division here] and tells you that you’ve won millions of dollars, it’s pretty exciting. But when he tells you that you need to pay money—especially if you’re required to pay in the form of something odd, like a $100 Amazon gift card—stop and think it through.

In most cases, you’ll have to pay taxes on your winnings, but those are not due prior to receiving your prize. The IRS also doesn’t accept payment in the form of gift cards, no matter what the scammer tries to tell you. Gift cards have become a common payment method of choice for scammers because they’re typically untraceable and anonymous.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • If you ever “win” a lottery that you didn’t enter—especially one with a prize worth millions of dollars — you’re probably being scammed.
  • Never pay upfront for any kind of prize or award.
  • If you’re ever instructed to pay only using an anonymous method like gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or wire transfers, it’s a scam.

Find more information about current scams and alerts here. 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.

For full details of this scam check out this article from Tucson News Now.