If you think you or someone you know has been scammed by a fake prize, lottery, or sweepstake imposter scam, we recommend that you act immediately, by following our guidelines below, and then proceed to our ReportRecover, and Reinforce sections for further assistance.

Some Immediate Action Steps to Take


Reporting scams to the FTC Complaint Assistant is very important! Once you have arrived at the FTC website please click on the category “Sweepstakes, Prize, Lottery” to complete your report. The more national reporting data that is collected, the better the chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease online crime. Although the FTC does not resolve individual complaints directly, they will make your report available to local, state and other law enforcement partners. Please read the privacy policy here. (If you believe that you’ve received a phishing email, please forward the email directly to reportphishing@apwg.org.)


These resources have been gathered, selected and vetted to help simplify the process of recovering after a cybercrime incident has taken place. You may need to contact organizations outside Fraudsupport.org. Results will vary depending on your circumstances.


Once you have notified the appropriate organizations and you are on the road to recovery, it is time to reinforce your cybersecurity using these resources and tools.

Contact the Money Service Company You May Have Used and Report the Fraud

  • MoneyGram (800-MONEYGRAM; 800-666-3947)
  • OFX (888-288-7354)
  • PayPal (888-221-1161)
  • Venmo (855-812-4430)
  • Western Union (800-325-6000)
    • If you suspect that a friend or family member is being victimized as a result of fraud, you can file an interdiction request which will block that person from transacting with Western Union. Send an email request to BeFraudSmart@westernunion.com
  • Zelle (844-428-8542)

Contact Credit Reporting Agencies to Monitor Your Accounts

Implement Preventive Measures

  • Research before offering any payment for a prize; call the lottery or sweepstakes company directly to see if you really won.
  • Remember companies that offer valid prizes, lotteries, or sweepstakes do not ask for any money for shipping and handling, taxes or customs.
  • If you do not remember entering a contest, then you can’t win a prize, so the offer is a scam.
  • Publishers Clearing House reports that they never contact people in advance to tell them they’ve won.
  • Download our Six Steps to Better Security PDF.

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