Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams
How the lottery scam works
typical Lottery or Sweepstakes Scam begins with an email telling you
that you have won a large amount of money, and giving you the name
of a contact person or agent that you are supposed to work with in
order to claim your money. The “lottery winner” will be told that
they need to pay a processing fee in order to claim their winnings.
For some, these scams become an addiction much like gambling. There
is the promise of a large amount of money, and it feels like it is
so close, that they continue to send the “agent” more and more money
to cover all of the fictional fees and transfer charges.
other variations, the “winner” will receive a check from the fake
lottery agent. They will be told that the check is a partial payment
on their winnings, and that to receive the remainder of the winnings
they must cash the check and wire a portion of that check, for fees
or charges, to the agent. From here, this variation follows the path
of a typical Counterfeit Cashier’s Check Scam. The scam victim takes
the check to the bank, deposits it and waits for the bank to tell
them that the check is clear. Once they believe that the check is
clear and has been verified as legitimate, the scam victim then
wires the “fees” on to the agent. In about a week, the scam victim
is contacted by their bank and told that the check is counterfeit
and that they must return the money and are fully liable for the
entire amount of the check.
http://www.thinkjessica.com/stories/jessica.htm tells the story of
a victim of one of these scams.
How to Protect Yourself
Look for these warning signs to know if it is a scam:
- If you do not remember
entering a lottery or contest, or purchasing a ticket, it is a
- Never buy a lottery ticket
from anyone other than an official lottery retailer displaying
official logos and signs.
- Don't redeem a lottery ticket
for someone you do not know.
- Never accept a collect call
from someone claiming to be from the lottery. The lottery does
not call collect.
- Don't give your credit card
number over the phone to anyone promising lottery prizes or
- Never believe anyone who
guarantees you will win a lottery prize. There is no guarantee.
- Don't try to redeem a lottery
ticket from a person. Tickets can be redeemed only at official
retailers or lottery offices.
- It is illegal for legitimate
lotteries to charge you any fees to collect your prize. If you won a real lottery, you would have to pay taxes on your
winnings, but you would NEVER have to pay a fee to receive the
winnings. Also, a legitimate lottery would be able to deduct the
taxes from your winnings.
- Many of these scams will use
the names of legitimate companies to make their stories sound
real, but the email will be coming from a generic email address,
and not one associated with that company. For further assurance,
search out that company on your own and contact them for
- Contact the Lottery Department
in your state for verification.
- Run a search on information in
the email you receive like
- The name of the agent
- The name of the company
- The address of the company
- The contact phone number
- The email address
often, one of these items will come up in a search listed on a scam
Resources for Victims
Report these scams to:
Other sites with information on
Scam Victims United's YouTube Page, which includes videos about
Lottery Scams and their victims.
Copyrightｩ 2011 Scam Victims United