I receive phone calls almost every day with someone claiming I have won a sweepstakes or prize — $2.5 million, $8 million, $15 million, whatever. All I need to do to claim my certified check is pay shipping and handling charges, processing fees or prepay the taxes with a prepaid gift card. That’s an instant red flag.

It’s only $250 to $1,300 they ask for. I think that would be cheap — pay only $900 to receive $2.5 million. Why haven’t I done this? I could be living it up on a beach somewhere. Trust me, it ain’t gonna happen. In all reality, my phone number somehow got sold or stolen; maybe they looked it up in the phone book. I know I haven’t really won anything.

Go ahead, send the money. Guess what? No check. 

These guys are professional liars/thieves and these are scams. They’re trying to separate you from your money — whatever angle they try, whether it be from the IRS, Social Security, Publishers Clearing House, the police officers association or even a church group. If you do not personally know them, you are probably being scammed. No government agencies or legitimate companies will ever call you direct and ask for (or demand) money or a credit card or bank account numbers. If you get a letter in the mail, call the agency or company and find out if it’s real. 

If you want to feed children in Africa, save the whales or help the homeless, there’s a very good chance you’re also wasting money. Yes, there are a lot of good causes out…

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