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Lottery Scams A form of advance fee fraud where you get an email, letter or phone call telling you that you have won a large amount of money in a lottery. To collect, you are required to send money for fees, or to give a stranger your financial information. Clues to Lottery Fraud: You did not buy a ticket. The lottery name is listed on scam alert sites Individuals do not sponsor lotteries You do not live in the lottery country Companies have sweepstakes, not lotteries You receive a request for money to get a prize You are advised to keep it confidential You are sent a “cashier’s check” but have to send money to someone right away
Picture of part of a fake lottery ticket for Spanish lottery
If it sounds too good to be true, It is never true; it’s a fraud attempt. It is illegal for US citiens to engage in foreign lotteries.
Protecting Yourself from Lottery Fraud No legitimate lottery will contact you over the internet or by email. No legitimate lottery will contact you by texting. Playing a foreign lottery, by mail or over the phone, is against federal law. There are no secret systems for winning foreign lotteries. Your chances of winning more than you pay for your tickets are slim to none. Purchasing one foreign lottery ticket will lead to many more questionable lottery offers and even bogus "investment" opportunities. If you do not remember entering a lottery or contest, or purchasing a ticket, it is a scam. Never share your credit card and banking information. Scam artists will often ask for your private financial information during an unsolicited sales pitch. Never buy a lottery ticket from anyone other than an official lottery retailer displaying official logos and signs. Don't redeem a lottery ticket for someone you do not know. Never accept a collect call from someone claiming to be from the lottery. The lottery does not call collect. Never believe anyone who guarantees you will win a lottery prize. There is no guarantee. Don't try to redeem a lottery ticket from a person. Tickets can be redeemed only at official retailers or lottery offices. It is illegal for legitimate lotteries to charge you any fees to collect your prize.  If you won a real lottery, you would have to pay taxes on your winnings, but you would NEVER have to pay a fee to receive the winnings.  Also, a legitimate lottery would be able to deduct the taxes from your winnings. Many of these scams will use the names of legitimate companies to make their stories sound real, but the email will be coming from a generic email address, and not one associated with that company. For further assurance, search out that company on your own and contact them for verification. Contact the Lottery Department in your state for verification. Run a search on information in the email you receive like: o The name of the agent o The name of the company o The address of the company o The contact phone number o The email address
Online Fraud
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