Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Prize Bounty is giving away free Xbox systems.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2003]
Origins: Free Xbox?
The first thing most recipients of this message notice when they follow the provided link and attempt to claim their free Xbox is that they have to pay the shipping charges in advance, an expense ranging from $4.99 to $36.50 (depending upon location and shipping method). Requiring prepayment of shipping fees (even for a "free" item) isn't all that unusual in itself, but the method of payment is what should give one pause here: Prize Bounty accepts only debit card information (complete with PIN). When sending payment by mail, one risks only the amount sent; when using a credit card, one has at least some protection and recourse against unauthorized charges which may be charged to that card. But supplying a debit card number and PIN to persons unknown opens the door to a potential draining of one's bank account with little hope of recovery.
Prize Bounty claims their transactions are processed by Authorize.net (which is a legitimate payment processing system) and that they "can not accept credit cards at this time, due to issues with our merchant account." However, this very same Xbox "giveaway" was being run just a few days earlier in connection with the domain Giftstakes.com, about which Authorize.net said:
The website www.giftstakes.com is in no way associated with Authorize.Net. The organization or person operating this website is not an Authorize.Net merchant and Authorize.Net is not processing any types of transactions that are submitted via this website. The purported drawing for a freeWe asked Authorize.Net about Prize Bounty and received the same response — they aren't processing any transactions from PrizeBounty.com. (For the November 2003 version, the processing service was changed from Authorize.Net to eMerchant.)
Recipients should also be skeptical about why the Prize Bounty site says they have only
This Xbox prize giveaway has all the hallmarks of a scam, a "free" offer which could end up costing claimants dearly.
Anyone who has fallen victim to this scam is encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
Update: The same giveaway scheme resurfaced in November 2003, this time under the name of Prize-Giveaway.
Last updated: 6 November 2008
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.