Beware of Best of Sumter scammers asking for payment


The Sumter Item's annual Best of Sumter readers' choice contest winners have been officially revealed, and unfortunately that means the scammers are primed for their next campaign.

Companies often try to sell awards to both winners and non-winners alike, but those awards are not sanctioned by The Item. Do not pay for an award, plaque or any other kind of winner announcement.

"We see this every year, and hopefully no one falls victim to it," Publisher Vince Johnson said. "It's unfortunate, but there will always be people trying to capitalize on other people's accomplishments. We will never force a winner to buy their Best of Sumter or Best of Clarendon award, and those companies should be ignored."

Every winner is included in The Item's glossy Best of Sumter magazine, which was inserted into the newspaper at the beginning of the month and can be browsed online at Every winner also receives a free window cling and framed certificate to display at their business.

Again, those are all free for every winner.

Winners do have the opportunity to buy paid promotional and celebratory advertisements and ad packages, which range from traditional newspaper and magazine ads to digital ads that display on our website and in our email newsletters to video commercials, but that is separate from being forced to buy a winner's plaque.

"Our Best Of campaigns are meant to be a way to celebrate the community through fun, friendly competition that allows everyone to participate at some level, regardless of their subscription status or ability to pay," Johnson said. "If you have any questions about whether a contact is a scam or not, please reach out to our sales representatives so they can tell you if the contact came from them or not by emailing or calling (803) 774-1231."