Congratulations! You may receive a certified check for up to
$400,000 U.S. CASH! One Lump sum! Tax free! Your odds to WIN are 1-6.
Hundreds of U.S. citizens win every week using our secret
system! You can win as much as you want!
Scam operators – often based outside the U.S. – are using
the telephone, email, text messages, and direct mail to entice U.S. consumers
to buy chances in high-stake foreign lotteries from as far away as Australia
and Europe. These lottery solicitations violate U.S. law, 18 U.S. Code § 1953,
which prohibits the cross-border sale or purchase of lottery tickets by phone
Federal law enforcement authorities are intercepting and
destroying millions of foreign lottery mailings sent. However, there are
solicitations that do get through according to the U.S. Postal Inspection
Most promotions for foreign lotteries are likely to be
phony. Many scam operators do not even buy the promised lottery tickets. Others
buy some tickets, but keep the “winnings” for themselves. In addition, lottery
hustlers use victims’ bank account numbers to make unauthorized withdrawals or
their credit card numbers to run up additional charges.
The following are some words of caution for consumers who
are thinking about responding to a foreign lottery:
play a foreign lottery – through the mail or over the telephone – you are
violating federal law.
no “secret” systems for winning foreign lotteries.
purchase one foreign lottery ticket, expect many more bogus offers for lottery
or investment “opportunities.” Your name will be placed on “sucker lists” that
fraudulent telemarketers buy and sell.
credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Scam artists often ask for
them during an unsolicited sales pitch.
The bottom line: Ignore all mail and phone solicitations for
foreign lottery promotions. If you receive what looks like “lottery” material
from a foreign country, give it to your local postmaster.
If you have won a “free” prize, you should not have to pay
anything to get it. Legitimate sweepstakes or contests never ask you to pay for
your own prize or buy something to boost your chance of winning. In a scam,
though, the “winners” almost always are asked to pay to collect their prize or
to enter another part of a contest.
If you enter contest drawings, especially at a public place
like a mall or at an event, you will probably get many promotions in the mail,
phone calls, and lots more spam. This is because the prize promoters often sell
your personal information to outside advertisers.
How to protect yourself
If you get a notification that says you are a winner, or if
you are thinking of entering a sweepstakes or prize drawing, here are some
things to know:
ask for their license number and licensing agency. All lotteries must be
registered and licensed with a gaming commission or regulator. NEVER contact
the people listed on the mailing or the name given by the vendor as they may be
associated with the scam.
contests do not ask you to pay anything to “improve” your chances of winning.
(Raffles are different: with those, you are buying a chance to win a prize.)
offers state the terms and conditions, including the rules, how to enter, and
the odds of winning. Legitimate lottery companies will usually send winning
notices by certified mail, Federal Express, UPS or DHL delivery services.
productions may ask you to send a check or money order, “wire” money to enter
the contest or claim a prize or deposit a check.
scammers get your money before you get the prize.
deposit the check given to you, it will bounce and you will owe your bank the
money is like sending cash; you cannot trace it and once sent you cannot get it
prize promoter a family credit card or checking account number puts you on a
“sucker” list. You will be contacted in the future, and you could be charged
for a slew of unexpected products.
the routing numbers on the check given to see if the bank is located in the US
or a different country or to see if it is a legitimate bank.
will say, “I cannot cash in my winning lottery ticket because I am not a US
citizen”. The truth is that you do not have to be a US citizen to claim a
scammers use a toll-free number that tells you to call a “900” number to claim
your prize. Calling “900” numbers costs money every minute.