The “winning prize” scam typically starts with a notice that you have won a sum of money. This should be your first clue, since you probably haven’t entered any contests. If you follow the instructions, you will eventually receive a check in the mail for a few thousand dollars. You are instructed to deposit that check into your bank account and wire a “prize fee” to the sender. For example, if you get a $3,000 check, you may be asked to wire $2,500. Do you think you’ve won a $500 prize? Think again!
After you send your money, you will discover that the check they sent you is no good. Not only are you out the money you paid them, but you are liable for all the bank fees associated with depositing a bad check.
I can’t tell you this strongly enough – when you win something, you will NEVER have to pay fees. You should never be asked to give up any money in advance or ever. A legitimate win will be subject to taxes – but those would be paid with your tax returns. If you are contacted, be cautious and never give any money in advance to receive a prize.