Have you ever received a phone call, email, or letter congratulating you for winning a contest? It is a great feeling to know you may have won a trip to an exotic place or a large cash prize, but your local bank wants to warn you that the good fortune is almost always a mirage. In this installment of our Protecting Against Fraud Series, we examine how to protect yourself from contest scams. The scammer on the phone is so excited to tell you the news you won. But then they tell you there is some fee, tax, or obligation to pay to receive the winnings. You will get asked for your credit card number or a bank account, or they request for you to wire fee to them. Unfortunately, if you do this, you become a victim of a “You’ve won scam.” Now they have your money or personal information, and you will be receiving more unwanted money requests, and worse, they could steal your identity.

Your PSB team has compiled some helpful tips to avoid being scammed by these fake contests:

- Ignore the calls, delete the emails, and throw the letter in the trash. 

- Keep your money to yourself. You have worked hard for your money, so do not let someone scam your money away from you.

- Protect your personal information. If you give your financial information to someone, like a credit card number, they can steal your identity and run up massive bills that could take years to resolve, if ever.

- Call the company sponsoring the contest or visit their office to confirm if the award is legitimate.

- Tell a friend. Communicate with friends, family, and neighbors about possible scam alerts. Also, let the local authorities know because law enforcement can catch the person or people responsible.

Our team at Provident State Bank is here to help you learn more safeguards against scam and fraud. Come visit your local branch today and learn more about all forms of fraud today!