Better Business Bureau warns that consumers should use caution when filling out surveys, even those boasting coupons or prizes through sweepstakes and lottery entires.
BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington provides the following tips on avoiding surveys and sweepstakes that may lead to telemarketing calls and junk mail:
- Never fill out surveys that request personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card or bank account information.
- If filling out a survey, look for an opt-out box to avoid receiving solicitations. Even if the survey says consumers can later choose to opt-out of programs that pass on contact and survey information, it may not be worth the hassle of receiving information from annoying, disreputable or scam sources.
- Be wary if you receive a win notice, but don't remember entering the contest. To win a lottery or sweepstakes, consumers must enter the competition.
- Don't pay to collect winnings; in legitimate cases, shipping and other fees are taken out of the winnings before the money is sent. Taxes on winnings would be handled through tax returns.
- Remember, playing a foreign lottery, via telephone or mail, is against federal law.
Consumers can get BBB Reliability Reports on businesses distributing surveys at www.bbb.org.