How to Recognize Lottery Scam Artists
Learn how to recognize lottery scams, to avoid having scammers raid your bank account or credit card account for money, or have identity thieves take you information and otherwise charge a lot of money in your name.
Lottery scams work just like other Internet scams, where someone tempts you with a payoff of some sort, gains your trust, gets access to your personal information, and then takes your hard-earned money from you.
Recognizing lottery scams can be easy or difficult, depending on the overall skill level of the scam artist. But if you aren’t in the habit of entering random lottery games, or if you aren’t likely to forget having bought a lottery ticket, there is one sure way to know you are being set up for the lottery scam – if you didn’t buy a lottery ticket.
What Is a Lottery?
A lottery is a drawing which offers a prize to whoever holds the winning ticket. To enter a lottery, you have to buy a lottery ticket. Unlike a sweepstakes, which doesn’t require people to “enter” to win, a lottery always requires someone to spend money to enter the lottery. So unless you bought a lottery ticket for a particular lottery contest, anytime someones mails you, emails you, or telephones you to let you know you “may have won the lottery”, this is a scam.
Below is a list of the major lottery scams.
- Email Lottery Scam
- Mail Lottery Scam
- Phone Lottery Scam
- Lottery Website Scam
- How to Win the Lottery Guide Scams
- Green Card Lottery Scam – Immigration VISA Lottery Scame
- Sweepstakes Scam
How Does a Lottery Work?
Lotteries in countries like the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada are not conducted without state sanction. Most of the time, a lottery is held by the state or regional authority. In other cases, charitable organizations are allowed to conduct lotteries. So a lottery is easy to check up on.
All legitimate lotteries are going to have their own website. If you are reading this article, you are likely to have been targeted for a lottery scam. If that’s the case, then as soon as you finish reading this post, Google the name of the so-called lottery you were contacted by. Put that name in quotation marks and add the word “scam” outside the quotations. This should bring up reports of a scammers lottery.
If so, contact the Attorney General’s consumer protection office of the state in which you live. Let them know you believe you’ve been contacted by a lottery scam artist, and see whether they can confirm (and catch) this person.
How Does a Lottery Scam Work?
A lottery scam tends to work like this. You’ll be contacted via email, mail, or phone contact that you have won the lottery. To collect your winnings, you need to pay taxes and transfer fees for the lottery win to be official. Also, you need to provide proof of identity, as well as bank account information or credit card information, so your jackpot earnings can be transferred to you.
When someone you don’t know wants your bank or credit card information, never give it to them. When someone you don’t know asks you to send them money, understand this is a scam. These people need your personal information to execute the scam. If you don’t fall for the Nigerian prince scam, don’t fall for the lottery scam.
Understand that these people are crafty in their own way, though. Scam lotteries tend to change their name from time to time, because people do report them to their state governments and they have to stay one step ahead of the authorities. Also, lottery scammers claim to be a sweepstakes (instead), because it’s feasible that a sweepstakes might claim you have a chance to win, without you signing up for the sweepstakes. The important thing is, anytime someone wants your account information out of the blue, they are trying to steal your money.
Lottery Scam Fast Facts
- When you have a winning lottery ticket, you notify the lottery about your win, not the other way around. Lotteries never notify the winner.
- You must enter a lottery to qualify as a potential winner.
- You must buy a lottery ticket to be eligible for a lottery jackpot.
- You don’t have to pay a fee to collect your winnings. Legitimate lotteries do not have a lottery fee.
- Taxes are paid after you have collected your money. A lottery which asks you to pay taxes before you get your money is a lottery scam.
- If you are an American citizen, you are not eligible to win a lottery in another country. It is illegal to play the lottery in another country.
- Find a list of legitimate lotteries. If the lottery officials who contacted you do not have a lottery listed on a list of legitimate lotto games, this contact is a scam.
- Remember that lottery scam artists change their names occasionally to avoid detection and prosecution. Just because their name isn’t on a list of scam lotteries, does not mean they are not a fraud.
- A legitimate lottery is conducted by a government department or a government-authorized charitable organization.
Recognizing Lottery Scam Artists
Studying how to recognize lottery scams, you start to see the same pattern pop up, over and over again. People are making unsolicited attempts to get you to reveal account information about yourself, as well as sending checks or money order to them. Whenever you get an email, phone call, or letter out of nowhere, suggesting you need to give up money or bank account details, you should know these people are up to bad business. That’s not the way a legitimate business is run, and that’s not the way a legitimate lottery is run.