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How to spot sweepstakes scams

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- The Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol was in town and FOX8 was along for the ride.

The official prize ambassadors really do deliver those big checks to winners of the free PCH online sweepstakes and games.

“We just have a great job. We go all over the country giving prizes making people happy!” Dave Sayor said.

One lucky lady in Lexington found out how real this prize is as the Prize Patrol knocked on her door with roses, balloons and a check for $10,000!

FOX8 is featuring this prize because the sad truth is it’s not always fun and games. The Federal Trade Commissions said scam artists steal millions of dollars every year convincing people they’ve won prizes. Remember that to win a real sweepstakes, there’s no entry fee. No purchase required. No hidden fees. You don’t pay any money. That’s illegal. Any taxes you owe are paid directly to the IRS when you file your taxes.

Also, beware of how you’re told you’re a winner. Poorly written e-mails, aggressive phone calls and requests for bank information are red flags.

“We don’t notify people by phone or by social media that they have won. We like to show up at the door and they are surprised,” Sayor said.

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