The Rundown on Lottery Scams
Each day, thousands of lottery scam letters are sent out in hopes of attaining either your money or your personal information for identity theft. In almost all cases, scammers will tell you what you want to hear. They will entice you with false claims that you have won generous amounts of money or expensive prizes. They will use all sorts of methods to contact you; telephone, fax, email, and cell phones.
How Lottery Scams Work
To protect yourself from being scammed you need to understand how these lottery scams work. Lottery scams follow a certain pattern. In the beginning, you will receive a notification claiming that you have won money, or a prize. Then depending on the scam, you will be asked to pay some sort of fee or to send in money, or you will be asked for your personal information. You can protect your identity and credit cards from this type of fraud by recognizing the signs of a lottery scam.
Signs of a Lottery Scam
- You receive a message claiming that you have won a prize from a lottery you did not enter.
You can NEVER win a lottery that you did not enter.
- You are required to pay some sort of fee before you can attain your prize.
Remember, a legitimate lottery will NEVER ask you to pay a fee in order for you to collect your prize. If you ever win a legitimate lottery, like lotto 649, or a Sweepstakes the only money you would ever have to pay is the tax you pay directly to the government. No one can pay this tax for you.
- You receive what appears to be a valid cheque as a lump sum of your winnings, which you must cash and send as fees in order to receive your full prize amount.
The cheque is most likely a counterfeit or stolen. And your bank will realize this when it’s too late and after the scammers have gotten away with your money. You will be responsible for the full amount.
- You’re required to send in personal information and copies of personal documents (i.e. passport, driver license or bank account information) to verify your identity.
This information is used to steal your identity.
- You have a limited timeframe in which you must claim your prize.
Real lotteries don’t pressure you, with limited number of days to claim your prize.
- You are not supplied with any direct information—like a company address—only a phone number.
Scammers try to remain as discrete as possible so they don’t leave a traceable tail. Most often they work from hotel rooms, back rooms, and Internet Cafes. Legitimate lotteries, however, will provide you with an address or toll-free phone numbers where you can contact them.
- You’re asked to wait until after you receive your prize to tell anyone about winning.
Legitimate lotteries never ask you to wait until after you have received your prize money to tell people that you have won, only scammers who wish to protect themselves do.