The announcement comes via regular mail, email or a phone call. You’ve won a big prize, and now it’s time to collect your money. All you have to do to claim the cash is pay a processing fee by supplying your credit card number, checking account number or other personal information, such as your Social Security number. You might even be asked to wire money to a specific bank account before your winnings can be sent. Don’t do it! It’s probably a scam. These scams play on our desire to get something for nearly nothing but instead of being a ‘winner’ you could quickly find yourself on the losing end. The crooks contacting you are after your money or personal information that could help them illegally open a new account or other things under your name. They could even be selling that information to others. Here are some things that should set off warning bells: You’re told you’ve won a large sum of money or a prize but you can’t remember entering the contest. You have to pay money to claim your prize this is a sure sign of fraud. They ask for personal information, such as account numbers. The email you get requires you to download a file or has links to a site that asks you to provide account numbers or other information. This is a surefire way to expose yourself to identity theft or fraud. Here’s the bottom line: Always be on the lookout for prize scams. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.