LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Marketing Manager for the BBB Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula Ashley Gibbard said sweepstakes scams are nothing new.

“It’s definitely not a new scam,” Gibbard said. “We’re in an up-tick of it right now.”

Over the past 3 months, the BBB said they’ve received twenty reports of consumers being contacted by someone claiming to be a contest organizer or with the bureau.

“We’ve been getting a lot of calls from people claiming they’ve either gotten phone calls, text messages, or letters in the mail, claiming they’ve won either ‘Publisher’s Clearing House’ or some sort of other contest,” Gibbard said.

And they’re asking for payment for the lottery or sweepstake winnings. Gibbard said they’ll say things like:

“You’ve won $4 million and a new car, all you have to do is send us $2,000 for the taxes and then we’ll send those things right over,'” she said.

Gibbard said these scams over the last 3 months totaled $1,500 worth of losses and adds it’s important to look for red flags.

The first is remembering if you actually entered a sweepstake to begin with.

“You have to enter a contest to win it, right? So, you’re not just going to get a phone call out of the blue one day that says ‘You’ve won $4 million, here you go,'” Gibbard said.

The BBB said it’s also extremely important to do some investigating yourself. This includes doing an internet search of the company or person who contacted you, being suspicious of irregular notifications like text or bulk mail saying you’ve won, and talking to a trusted family member or your bank.

“And if you’re not sure, if you think ‘You know, maybe I entered something or something of that sort,’ give us a call,” she said. “We have a very good way of being able to help you walk through this and identify if maybe it’s real or not.”

The BBB is reminding everyone to not give away any information or any money until you’ve at least done your due diligence and research