FTC warning: Don’t ever pay to enter sweepstakes or contest

If you’re one of those who love to enter contests, you should know that some of those sweepstakes are not what they seem.

The Federal Trade Commission is reminding people never to pay to enter a sweepstakes or contest.

The agency says Publishers Clearing House used confusing language to trick people into paying to enter contests.

It said the company made it seem like buying items would either enter consumers into sweepstakes or would increase their odds of winning.

It also accused the company of hiding fees, including for shipping and handling.

These added an average of 40% to shoppers’ totals.

Publishers Clearing House has agreed to pay an $18.5 million settlement.

There are a few things to keep in mind when entering a sweepstakes:

  • First, legit contests are free to enter. It’s illegal to charge people to enter.
  • Also, watch out for fake contests. Never enter a sweepstakes, unless you trust the source.

If you do spot a scam, report it to the FTC at reportfraud.FTC.gov.

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This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.