You can't win a lottery you haven't entered! Please read here for information on lottery scams.
#12172 by Samantha Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:26 pm
You can NOT win a lottery you have never entered!

How fake lotteries work

A scammer will send an email or letter or possibly contact you by phone telling you that you have won a huge sum of money in a lottery. There may be a link to a lottery website, which may be a fake site, possible a very close copy of a real lottery site. Scammers frequently use the name and website of a legitimate lottery in an attempt to build confidence.

The scam will then go one of two ways. Most commonly, the scammer says there are fees to pay, such as an administration fee, or courier charges to deliver the check. Once those fees are paid, the scammer will come up with a reason why more money has to be paid, and this will keep going until the victim realises it's a scam or runs out of money.

Less often, the scammer invites the victim to travel to collect the winnings and asks them to bring cash for the fees. When the victim meets the scammer, the victim may be pressured into paying fees, threatened, or mugged or even worse.

How to spot a lottery scam

If some or all of these are true, you're dealing with a lottery scammer:
  • You have not entered a lottery, bought a ticket or registered on an online lottery site
  • The lottery is based overseas, and you are not a citizen or resident of that country, and have not bought a ticket while visiting the country
  • The email says that winners were selected at random from their email addresses, through a computer ballot, or from an online directory
  • The email mentions a fee or payment of any kind, or a claims agent
  • The email asks for secrecy and threatens you with disqualification if you breach the confidentiality.
  • You are told that the winnings will be delivered by courier
  • The email includes a UK phone number (country code 44) that starts in 070. (See this link for information about these phone numbers.)

Legal issues

In most parts of the world, you cannot legitimately enter a lottery in a country in which you do not live unless you buy a ticket while you are there.

It is also illegal in most jurisdictions for a lottery to charge winners anything at all to claim their winnings.

All lotteries must be registered with their country's Gaming Commission or other regulator, and lottery websites must display the rules of the lottery.

Companies such as Microsoft, Pepsi, Coke and other private entities do not operate lotteries! Any such promotion is a scam.

Links to more information about lottery scams

UK Metropolitan Police information
US FraudAid front page for lottery scams
US Fraud Aid examples of scam emails
US Fraud Aid searchable database of lottery scams
UK National Lottery info page
FraudAid links to international gaming commissions and lottery associations

Lottery news items

FraudAid - Lottery scam alerts
The Register - Wife blames row over lottery scam for shooting her husband
BBC News : Multi-million pound lottery phone scam
BBC News � fake Canadian lottery cons Britons
BBC News : Phone lottery scams
4NI - N Ireland public warned about fake Spanish lottery
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