Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

March 29, 2007 11:28 ET

Competition Bureau Canada: And the Winner is...

FRAUD: Recognize It. Report It. Stop It.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 29, 2007) - During Fraud Prevention Month, the Competition Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout for bogus prize pitches and sweepstake schemes.

As part of the bogus prize pitch, consumers are notified by mail, email, or telephone that they have won a free prize or money. However, to collect their winnings, they must send a fee, which is supposed to cover the costs for shipping, insurance, or taxes.

In other instances, the "lucky contestants" are told that they must purchase a product and pay in advance in order to receive their prize. These products may include such items as coin collections or personalized pen sets. The products are generally cheap or overpriced, but sound valuable over the phone.

Consumers may also encounter the sweepstakes scheme. After entering a fake sweepstakes contest in the mail, you will receive a call within two to four weeks from a fraudulent telemarketer. This person will usually identify themselves as a lawyer, judge, customs agent or other official, and claim to be representing a particular company. You will be told that you have won a large cash award, but that money must be sent up front for taxes and other fees.

Sweepstakes that notify you by postcard that you've won a free prize are run by con artists whose sole purpose is to rip you off. And that "free prize" could end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Legitimate sweepstakes offer participating consumers a chance to win a prize or money with no purchase or entry fee required. If you have to pay to play, the promotion is a scam.

The Bureau advises consumers to consider a number of factors before participating in sweepstakes and other promotions:

- Are the rules for the promotion easy to find and understand?

If you can't understand what you must do to be eligible, think
twice about responding.

- Does the advertising copy state that no purchase is necessary to

Remember, you never have to pay to play when the contest is

- Are the prizes worth winning?

Make sure the prizes you are trying for are desirable and worth the

- Does the prize company ask for your credit card number, bank
account information or Social Insurance Number?

Legitimate prize companies do not ask for this information to
declare you a winner.

The Competition Bureau chairs the Fraud Prevention Forum, which is a concerned group of private sector firms, consumer and volunteer groups, government agencies and law enforcement organizations committed to fighting fraud aimed at consumers and businesses. Through its partners, the Forum works to prevent Canadians from becoming victims of fraud by educating them on how to recognize it, report it and stop it.

For more information on the Forum or Fraud Prevention Month, visit:

Contact Information

  • Competition Bureau (media enquiries)
    Maureen McGrath
    613-296-2187 (cell.)
    Competition Bureau (general enquiries)
    Information Centre