Think before spending cash or sending money!
Have you ever wondered why people spend hundreds — sometimes thousands of dollars — throwing dull darts at underinflated balloons at local carnivals only to come away with a poorly constructed teddy bear or empty pockets?
Or why some (if not a lot) think nothing of handing over a wallet full of dollar bills so their small children can catch a rubber ducky and win a prize?
While lots of people will be doing just that at outdoor fairs and carnivals this summer, even more people play games of chance every day of the year.
What both groups of people have in common is that very few become winners.
The Better Business Bureau is sharing just some of the more common schemes and what you or a friend or family member can do to prevent becoming a big-time loser.
Chances are you’ve bought a lottery ticket or two, especially when the PowerBall reaches hundreds of millions of dollars. These are legitimate games, even though the odds of winning are astronomical.
We receive calls every day from consumers who believe they have won the jackpot. We suggest being wary of notices that arrive by email or regular mail announcing that you’ve won a foreign lottery. First of all, you can’t win a foreign lottery if you did not purchase the ticket while in that country. Secondly, playing foreign lotteries is illegal — unless you are in that country.
We’ve all seen the commercials for Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Although this particular sweepstakes is legitimate and is an actual business, many others are designed to appear to be the same thing in hopes you’ll enter and many others just hope you’ll respond to any and all sweepstakes. Phony sweepstakes announce you’re a winner but state that you must send or wire a certain amount to cover handling fees and taxes.
If you respond, not only will you lose your money but your name will be added to a bazillion other mailing lists for sweepstakes. You shouldn’t have to send money to win money.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the government really did want to pay for your education costs, home repairs, home business expenses, even unpaid bills? Ads are prolific online and in print for government grants. All claim you will qualify for such a grant and that your application is guaranteed to be accepted.
After congratulating you on your eligibility, they’ll ask for your checking account information so they can “deposit your grant directly into your account” or cover a one-time “processing fee.” And they’ll even reassure you that you can get a refund if you’re not satisfied. In these schemes you won’t get the grant or your money back.
All free trials must come to an end. But according to some consumers, not all of them do. Many people, lured by offers of free trials for vitamins, weight-loss products, teeth whiteners and countless others, later discover that canceling the service or product is near to impossible. In the meantime, their credit cards continue to be charged the monthly fee. If you have a similar problem, contact your credit card company immediately.
The Better Business Bureau warns over and over again, before you find yourself involved in these or similar consumer traps, do your homework. Start with Trust®. Check with the BBB before doing business.
The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. For more information, please visit www.acadiana.bbb.org.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.