(WFXR) — The Better Business Bureau wants the public to be aware of a scam, that claims you won a sweepstake. In these scams, the targeted individual is required to pay taxes and fees upfront for the winnings before they can claim the prize.

Experts say the first thing to think about if you ever get a message saying you’ve won is to think about whether you’ve even entered a sweepstake. If you haven’t, then you can’t win.

There are multiple reports in Southwest Virginia, saying that they have been scammed. According to the Federal Trade Commission, when it comes to sweepstake scams nationally, 8.8 billion dollars in losses have been reported, and 2.4 million reports had been made just last year in 2022.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about sweepstakes:

  • Sweepstakes are free games (it’s illegal to purchase or buy entrance into a sweepstake)
  • Don’t pay to collect your winnings (sweepstakes do not require you to pay insurance, taxes, or even shipping and handling costs to collect your prize)
  • Never provide personal information
  • Never click any links sent via email or text message, claiming you’ve won a prize

If a scammer does call, don’t be afraid to hang up, especially if the caller is not answering your questions or you just have a bad feeling.

If you believe that you have been scammed, contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) here.