Lottery Scams: How to Avoid being Scammed
Have you been scammed by a lottery brand, do you feel scared of been scammed, or do you also feel a particular lottery brand or agent doesn’t look genuine? If that’s how you feel, then this blog would help you understand how to avoid been scammed by any lottery brand or agent.
The lottery game is very big and lucrative business, with lots of people playing the lottery games. Just like any other business, people tend to take advantage of others, by scamming them of their hard-earned money.
Lottery scammers have different tricks up their sleeves. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant and look out for any possible sign.
These lottery scammers have various tricks that we might not cover all specifically in this blog post, but we will explain how you can identify one.
What is a Lottery Scam
A lottery Scam is a type of advance-fee fraud that begins with an unexpected email notification, phone call, or mailing (sometimes including a large check) explaining that “You have won!” a large sum of money in a lottery.
How the Scam Works
You will receive an unexpected email notification, phone call, or mailing (sometimes including a large check) explaining that “You have won!” a large sum of money in a lottery.
The receiver of the message is mostly asked to keep the notice secret for now and then you are asked to contact a ‘claims agent” to claim your prize of which they would provide you the number of the “claim agent”
Once you contact the agent, you would then be asked to make a payment, they usually prefer to call this type of payment “Processing fee” or “Transfer Charges” so that your winning can be distributed to you.
Most time they stall your “supposed winning” by continuously asking you to make several payments with the hope of receiving a prize. Of which there is no prize to be won.
The supposed winnings are usually an international lottery prize, laptop, smartphones, tropical holiday, electronic equipment, and lots more.
The email, text, and letters are usually of urgency, they would encourage you to respond quickly to the mail so as not to miss the opportunity to someone else.
Scammers do this to prevent you from seeking further information or advice from an independent source.
You may also be asked to provide personal details to prove that you are the correct winner and to give your bank account details so the prize can be sent to you.
Scammers use these details to try to misuse your identity and steal any money you have in your bank account.
Sometimes they might actually send some money in the form of a cheque or transfer to trick you that the offer is legit. However, the cheque will eventually bounce back and you will not receive any real payment.
Many of these lottery scammers go to the extent of using the names of legitimate lottery organizations or other legitimate corporations/companies, but this does not mean the legitimate organizations are in any way involved with the scams.
How to Identify a Scam
There are ways you can identify a scam either through email, phone call, or text:
- If there are spelling or grammatical issues that also indicates that the email is likely a scam.
- Scam lottery emails will nearly always come from free email accounts such as Outlook, Yahoo!, Hotmail, Live, MSN, Gmail, etc.
- Scammers will ask you to pay a fee in advance to receive your prize. All genuine lotteries simply subtract any fees and taxes from your prize. Regardless of what the scammer claims this fee is for (such as processing fees, courier charges, bank charges, or various imaginary certificates), these are all fabrications made by the scammers to obtain money from you.
- Look out for the currency and country it has been sent from – for example, an email might be sent to you in the UK claiming that you won a USD amount in a South African lottery.
- You receive a letter, email, or text message saying you have won a guaranteed prize in a lottery or competition that you did not enter. This may come from even trusted individuals like family over social media (they could hack their social accounts)
- The sender claims you are a winner from your email address or social media account being chosen at random. They may say the offer is ‘legal’ or ‘legitimate’, and has ‘government approval’.
- You may be asked to provide your bank account details or to send the fee to a PO box number or via a money transfer service.
How to Protect Yourself
These are ways to protect yourself from lottery scams:
- If you haven’t entered a lottery or competition, you can’t win it.
- Lottery companies/brands will never ask you to pay upfront to be able to claim your prize. So if you are asked to pay upfront, then it’s definitely a scam.
- Do an intense search online on the so-called brand to determine how genuine the brand is and also check for reviews.
- Make sure to seek further information or advice from an independent source.
- Avoid anything that requests payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card, or electronic currency like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
- Verify the identity of the contact by calling the relevant organization directly – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
These are some of the helpful tips you need to know, so as to protect yourself from being scammed online by lottery scammers.
Example of a Lottery Scam
Let’s see an example of what an email lottery scam looks like. A typical scam email will read like this:
PRIME LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL Customer Service Ref:ABC/34085746305872/34 Batch: 293/34/3473
WINNING NOTIFICATION: We happily announce to you the draw of the UK-LOTTO Sweepstake Lottery International programs held on the 27th of March, 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 564 75600545188 with Serial number 5368/02 drew the lucky numbers: 19-6-26-17-35-7, which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category.
You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of US$2,500,000.00 (Two million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars)in cash credited to file ktu/9023118308/03.This is from a total cash prize of U.S $2.5 Million dollars, shared amongst the first nine (9) luckywinners in this category.
All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 companies. This promotion takes place annually. Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in your play coupon. In view of this, your U.S$2,500,000.00 (Two million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) would be released to you by our payment office in Europe.
Our European agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact him. For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claims is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize.
This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some unscrupulous elements. Please be warned.
To file for your claim, please contact our fiduciary agent: Mr Richard Diwar Email:email@example.com
To avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please quote your reference/batch numbers in any correspondence with us or our designated agent.
Congratulations once more from all members and staffs of this program. Thank you for being part of our promotional lottery program.
SIR HENRY BERNARD UK-LOTTO Co-ordinator
Have you been scammed before?
If you have been scammed, there is almost nothing you can do to revert the situation, that is why it is good to identify if the source is a good one or not from the onset.
However, you could report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This would help them to warn people about current scams, monitor trends, and disrupt scams where possible.
While filling out the Scam Report please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot on their page in the options provided.
Now you know what the online lottery scam is, how the lottery scam works, how to identify a scam, and how to protect yourself from any scam.
You must take all these precautions very seriously, as lottery scammers tend to update their ways of luring people.
If you are unsure if a message or phone call is genuine or not, try consulting a genuinely independent source for guidance.
Also try not to be greedy, if you never played a lottery game or competition, don’t ever expect to win something.
We hope this information has been helpful to you, make sure to share it with others and if you have any questions or additions to any of the points above, let us know in the comment section.