Consumer Alert: Lottery and sweepstakes scams

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Action 2 News' Tammy Elliott sat down with the regional director of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to talk about the bureau's sweepstakes and lottery scam report.

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The BBB says there were nearly 3,000 reported scams on Scam Tracker last year.

These numbers are giving new insight into how prize scams snag victims.

People in the United States lost $114 million to scams because they were lead to believe they were winners.

"They think, 'if I pay $500, I have a chance at getting $6 million.' They might be a little skeptical, but the carrot that the scammer is dangling is so big that they think it's worth the risk," said Susan Bach, Appleton regional director of the BBB.

Bach says responding or answering a call can land you on a lead list.

"Sucker lists is what they call them, unfortunately. The lengths that they will go to to create these lists...once they create these they will buy them and sell them, so you as a consumer, if your name gets on one of these suckers lists, you will be called endlessly," said Bach.

Bach says older people who've had the same phone number and address for years are targets.

"What our study found is when they target elderly people, they're really using sales tactics, such as, this could do so much to help your family, to pay college tuition for your grandchildren. So, they know all the right buttons to push, they're very persuasive,"

Experts say do not answer those calls, report any information you have.

The BBB hopes it'll be a tool for law enforcement and social media companies to do more to protect people from these scams.