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I have received phone calls claiming I have won prizes or asking for personal information, what should I do?

Your personal information is important! Guard your social security number, your bank account and credit card numbers, and your driver's license or state identification number. Some criminals trick you on telephone calls to get your personal information. The criminals can then take your information and use your credit cards and bank accounts or open new ones. A real bank or credit card company will never call you and ask for your social security or bank account numbers.


  • Donate only to recognized charities. Ask the caller to send more information.
  • Reject high pressure sales methods. Ask the caller to send more information.
  • Do not do business with anyone who offers to send a delivery service to collect your donation or payment for  something you have not yet ordered or received.
  • Be careful making a donation or buying a service in exchange for the promise of a guaranteed sweepstakes winning.
  • Be careful of phone calls or emails saying that a friend or relative is in a faraway place and needs money to help him. This may be a scam. Check with the friend or relative first before sending money.


  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Do not pay to collect sweepstakes winnings!
  • Phone numbers can be changed on caller ID so that con artists can trick you about who or where they are.
  • Ignore all phone solicitations to play a foreign lottery. Such sales and purchases are against the law.

This FAQ was written by Carol Kile, Esq. and appeared as a story in Volume 28, Issue  2 of "The Alert" - a newsletter for seniors published by Legal Aid. Click here to read the full issue.

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