Rachel is confused. She “won” a gift card, but now they want her to pay $60 to redeem it.
“If I won the prize why am I being asked to pay?” she asked me in an email. “Do they do this to discourage you from receiving your prize due to additional payments?”
No. They do it because it’s a scam.
In fact, this is a telltale sign that you’re dealing with a bogus offer. You “win” a cruise but then have to pay a booking fee or some other nonsense surcharge. Often, that fee is more than the value of the prize itself.
“Is is always legal to hold prizes like gift cards for fees?” she asked.
Our dialog, conducted on a recent Saturday morning, is interesting because it shows how these fraudsters put ideas in your head. Here’s an edited version:
Me: That’s a scam. If you win something, it should be free.
Rachel: Do you also think if you won something outside of you state that delivery of your winning should be free?
Me: Yes, if it’s free, the whole thing should be free.
Rachel: If the bank says you must pay a fee for delivery before you can obtain your prize are you saying these are crooks inside the bank kinda?
Me: It smells like a scam to me, but I can’t make a determination unless I see what they’re offering you.
Rachel: If I registered for a subscription to participate in a prize awarding offer and I won and it was confirmed a win and then upon trying to obtain prize thru the same means and are asked to pay fees for delivery that is real don’t you think?
Me: No. You should never have to pay anything for a prize. It is a scam.
It sounds as if Rachel has already made up her mind about this “prize” and is looking for some validation from me. I can’t help with that. It’s difficult for me to imagine a scenario under which you’d pay $60 to deliver a gift card that you’d won. I mean, the gift card probably isn’t worth that much.
It’s simple, really. If you’ve won a prize, you should get your prize with no strings attached.
(Photo: smil/Flickr Creative Commons)