Important will NEVER send winning notification emails, letters, or messages. In case you do receive such a message, email or letter, please be aware that it is a 100% scam, no matter how good it may sound!

What are lottery scams

Lottery scams are, unfortunately, abundant in our current online world. And, without proper knowledge about scams, cons, swindles and the tricks con artists have up their sleeves to scam you, winning a national lottery jackpot or a big secondary prize can turn into a very costly affair. Scam professionals and their teams are always looking for potential victims by pretending to be lottery officials informing lottery prize winners about their win. In general, such information will involve a prize of jackpot size, but some scams refer to more modest amounts in order to avoid arousing suspicion. In both cases, contact is generally initialized through one of the following approaches:


How lottery scams work

Email. Scam emails often look very genuine, and some go so far as to link back to clones of official websites in order to refute any suspicions recipients may have. The aim is to extract money directly from the victim or gain personal and financial details so that a fraudulent act can later be committed. More recently, scammers have been using the inconspicuous facade stating: ‘your email address has been selected as the winning address from our online email promotion’, which is an attempt to attract recipients who have not purchased a Powerball ticket. Often, such an email has been sent from a free email provider account like Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail that could have been set up by anyone.

Direct mail. This approach is similar to email, but in this case a potential victim receives a letter through the mail informing him that he has won a lottery and needs to register his claim in order to process his winnings. To do this, the recipient is usually told that he has to reply with a processing fee and bank details, or call a premium rate telephone number (often not at all referred to as premium rate).

Telephone. A “lottery official” calls the potential victim to inform him about the “fortunate event” and at the same time try and extract a processing payment and/ or bank details. Scammers hope to make you drop your natural defense with this exciting news so you will give them the information or payment they are after.

Mobile. A text message works in a similar manner as an email: it is sent to a person’s phone and informs him of the fact that his mobile number was entered into a particular raffle or lottery has been randomly selected as the winner. The thought behind scams through text messaging is for you to reply with either personal information about yourself or with bank information necessary to receive your “winnings”.

A few examples:
Lottery scams used to always involve overseas lotteries. For example, in the US scam operators used to act as Canadian or British lottery officials. However, nowadays any lottery can be used as cover, and a recent trend is for people to be conned by individuals claiming to act on behalf of local lotteries such as Powerball or Mega Millions.
A more recent trend is that lottery scams do not originate from persons claiming to represent official lotteries, but instead from winners of large lottery jackpots. Many players that have come forward to claim large sums of money have had their names published as lottery winners. These particular scams can be packaged as one of the methods mentioned above, and can state that these winners want to share their jackpot winnings with you to help you out.

How to protect yourself against lottery scams

Law enforcement agencies worldwide are working hard to identify lottery scams and bring their culprits to justice. The best way to avoid getting conned, however, is to be personally vigilant. In general, there are three important rules that will help you to keep yourself safe:

  1. You can only win a lottery prize in a lottery that you have actually entered in! If you didn’t buy tickets for a Powerball draw, or for any other lottery draw, you cannot possibly win a prize – it is that simple.
  2. No lottery requires any form of processing fee before distributing a prize. Don’t fall into this trap – information like this is simply untrue.
  3. Don’t rely on information provided in a direct mail letter, phone call, email, or text message to authenticate anything. For scammers, it is easy to include an official address and/ or a link to or any other lottery site in an email, of course without permission, to make the email look official. But, it isn’t!