Spot Scams involving Prize or Lottery Winnings
Prize and Lottery Scams
What Are Prize and Lottery Scams?
These are notifications that arrive through the mail, by email, or by an unsolicited
telephone call and advise the targets that they have won a prize (often for a competition
they didn't enter). Victims of lottery scams have lost thousands of dollars responding to
demands for payment to cover costs of redeeming prizes, when in all probability, the prize
did not exist. Victims rarely, if ever receive any winnings in return for their cash.
How to Spot Prize and Lottery Scams
Protect yourself and your money. Look for any of the following elements in the prize or
- The information advises that you have won a prize, but you did not enter any competition
run by the contest promoters.
- The notification was sent by bulk mail, though it may be personally addressed to you.
Thousands of other targets around the world may have received the same notification.
- The prize promoters ask you to pay a fee (for administration or "processing")
- The notice contains an offer to buy shares in a fund that purports to purchase tickets
in legitimate overseas lotteries.
- The offer includes prizes or the opportunity to purchase "exclusive items."
(If these items are real, they are often substandard, overpriced, or falsely represented.)
- The notice informs you that claiming the prize might require travel overseas at your own cost.
The cross-border purchase or sale of lottery tickets is a violation of U.S. law. And because
these scams are generally operated outside the United States, victims have very little recourse
to recover losses.
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