The Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs is warning state residents to be on the lookout for lottery scams. If you have been informed you have won a lottery or similar contest that you have never entered or even heard of, it is most likely a scam.
State officials say legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to put down any money to improve your chances of winning, or require you to pay “taxes” or “shipping and handling charges” to claim your winnings.
State officials offer these tips to help consumers avoid being victimized by a scammer:
Do not make an immediate decision. That means always asking for information in writing and do a little research on your own.
Never give your personal information (credit card, checking account or Social Security numbers) to unknown callers.
Be wary of statements that claim you are a prize winner, particularly if the caller asks you to send money to claim it.
Do not send cash by messenger or overnight mail.
Don’t give your hard-earned money to a scammer. If you have a gut feeling that something isn’t legitimate, it probably isn’t.
Go to www.tn.gov/consumer/ for more information.