The report – “Sweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams: A Better Business Bureau Study of How ‘Winners’ Lose Millions Through an Evolving Fraud” – notes these scams bilked at least $117 million out of half a million Americans and Canadians in 2017 alone. Seniors are the most frequent target and suffer the largest losses by far in these scams. The report found the scams commonly originate in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Nigeria.
Among the report’s key findings:
- The majority of lottery or sweepstakes scam victims are between 65 and 74 years old. Among that age group, people who recently experienced a serious negative life event, and who expect their income in the near future to remain steady or decline, are even more likely to be victimized.
- Sweepstakes/lottery fraud can strike through many channels – phone calls, text messages, pop-ups on a smartphone’s Internet browser, social media, and mailings.
- In 2017, 2,820 individuals reported sweepstakes and lottery scams to BBB Scam Tracker. These reports show a median loss of $500, with wire transfer as the most common method of payment.