My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this is happening.
No legitimate contest or organization will ever require a person to send any money to collect a prize. There are no exceptions. It is ALWAYS a scam. If you send them the $11.89, they'll just ask for more money, and more and more and more. The reason you're getting so many notices is that the scam artists are aware that you've paid in the past, so they think that means you'll be more likely to pay in the future.
This is called "advance fee fraud" and it's extremely common. It's impossible to win a contest without entering. A sweepstakes or contest cannot charge a person to claim their prize - these contests are highly regulated. Any processing fees, shipping and handling charges, insurance, check fees, courier fees, finalization fees and other payments ALL are part of the company's overhead and are something that the company holding the contest would pay, NEVER the winner.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings about these types of scams:
Here are additional warnings:
Also, beware of follow-up scams. Sometimes in this situation, the scam artists will have a friend contact you and offer to get your money back - for a small, upfront fee, sent via Western Union. It's just a more despicable part of the original scam. Don't fall for it.
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